We all have heard of the phrase “Laughter is the best medicine.” But did you know that there scientific truth to that quote. Laughter decreases stress hormones, increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies; this helps to improve your resistance to disease. Laughter also provides a full-scale workout for your muscles and triggers the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Laughter helps you to relax and recharge, plus a great sense of humor helps with shifting perspective. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, allowing one to see situations in a realistic but less overwhelming view. Instead of beating yourself up over every unfavorable situation, being able to laugh at the situation or even yourself stops the distressing emotions. Laughing often creates a jovial image to others and thus you would find people drawn closer to you and having such support creates a profound effect on both your mental and emotional well-being.
The best part of all is that our bodies cannot differentiate between genuine and fake laughter, so anything that makes you even giggle for a bit will have a positive impact. You do not even need to be positively happy or have a sense of humor to benefit from a good laugh. Dr Kataria upon discovering this then created a range of prolonged voluntary laughter exercises. Realizing the importance of child-like playfulness, he developed further techniques to stimulate this within a group. And thus, Laughter Yoga was founded and is now widely practiced all over the world.
Here are some simple laughter yoga exercises by Thomas Flindt, a laughter yoga instructor for more than a decade, which you can try for yourself at home.
Exercise 1: Silent Laughter
Simply lean your head backwards and perform a silent laughter. Do this for as long as you are comfortable.
Exercise 2: Hmmm Laughter
Start by closing your mouth and make the “Hmm-Hmm” sound. It would appear like you are trying to contain your laughter. Do this for as long as you are comfortable before moving on to the next exercise.
Exercise 3: Self Laughter
This exercise involves laughing at yourself. Many times we often take ourselves very seriously and feel so conscious of how others look at us. Laughing at yourself allows you to de-stress and just be at ease with yourself. Start by taking both fingers and pointing at yourself, right around the chest area continuously and just simply laugh at yourself.
And finally, the last exercise involves just simply laughing and letting go. Keep on laughing for a while before finally stopping as the body is fully relaxes. You can lie down at the last step to enjoy the calmness and unwind.
Laughing is a great way to reduce stress and is useful in helping one cope with a stressful lifestyle. It is an easy, fun and free way to feel good about oneself, so keep on laughing!