Managing Stress with laughter
In a world of never ending to do lists, life can seem like a constant battle to “get things done”. When we feel like we are chasing our tail, we feel stressed. Stress is a normal part of everyday life and at times can be an important part of actually providing the incentive to accomplish tasks and projects, however; too much stress can have an adverse impact on your health.
If you’re looking for some innovative ways to manage your stress, here are some that I use:
In this article I will examine laughter.
Laughter? Yes, and I don’t mean the kind that requires your girlfriends, a bottle of champagne and a kid free night on the town, or finding time to watch a comedy on the telly. I’m talking regular daily laughter as a form of exercise. Do I have your attention?
Laughter yoga is the daily practice of laughing exercises to stimulate your immune system, reduce your cortisol levels and strengthen your core stomach muscles.
The Laughter Yoga Movement
“Dr Kataria started the laughter yoga movement in a park in Mumbai, India in March 1995 with just 5 people. In the initial days, the group resorted to jokes and funny stories, but they soon ran out of them. This prompted him to come up with a breakthrough system of laughter. He finally found the answer he was looking for, which was based on a scientific fact that our body cannot differentiate between acted and genuine laughter. Both produced the same ‘happy chemistry’.
The next morning I explained this to the group and asked them to try to act out laughter with him for one minute. Amid skepticism they agreed to try – and the results were amazing. For some, the acted out laughter quickly turned into real laughter – this was contagious and very soon others followed. Soon the group was laughing like never before. The hearty laughter that followed persisted for almost ten minutes. This breakthrough was the birth of Laughter Yoga.”
Why is it called Laughter Yoga?
“The reason we call it Laughter Yoga is because it combines laughter exercises with yoga breathing. This brings more oxygen to the body and the brain, which makes one feel more energetic and healthy
In order to get scientifically proven health benefits of laughter, we need to laugh continuously for at least for 10 to 15 minutes. Since in Laughter Yoga we do laughter as an exercise, we can prolong our laughter as long as we want; it brings measurable physiological changes like oxygen levels in the blood, muscle relaxation, blood circulation and release of certain hormones in the body.
Natural laughter that courses through our life depends upon many reasons and conditions, but there are not many reasons which make us laugh. That means we are leaving laughter to chance, it may happen it may not. In contrast, in Laughter Yoga club we are not leaving laughter to chance, but doing it out of commitment. This is a guaranteed way of getting the health benefits of laughter.”
What do you need?
- A Skype connection
Yes I said a Skype connection. I know we are all busy, and therefore it is difficult to take the time out to go to a yoga class, let alone a specialized laughter class, however, laughter yoga classes are conducted several times a day and during the night on Skype.
How do I do it?
Send a friend request to Laughter Yoga and then 10 minutes before the class that you wish to attend, send a message saying “I want to laugh”. At the appointed time your Skype Messenger will ring. When you accept the call, be sure to turn the video off. You only need to hear the others in the group, not see them. Then just start laughing.
But it’s impossible to start laughing for the sake of it!
Sure. It feels weird to start. But you just start out pretending with the fakest laughter you can manage. Even just saying HA HA HA will get you started. I like to laugh in weird and wonderful ways, because after practicing a witch laugh or an evil laugh, I end up cracking someone up on the laughter yoga call, and then I spontaneously laugh as well.
You can try pretending to point to a phone bill and laughing at the absurdity of the bill.
Who can join in?
- Anyone of any age.- my son Hamish sometimes joins in and laughs with me.
What does it cost?
Nothing. FREE. ZIP ZILCH. Just 10- 15 minutes of your time, ideally every day.
Laughter Yoga Times:
Laughter Yoga Club Brisbane:
I’m running stress management classes soon, where I will look at a number of different types of alternative ways to manage stress. If you’d like to know more, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional information about laughter yoga internationally visit www.laughteryoga.org