Laughter Yoga for Stress & Anxiety Relief
How many times have you laughed today?
The average child laughs around 300 times a day. The average adult laughs 10-15 times a day.
Laughter is a physical ability that really has nothing to do with humor. Even when there seems to be nothing to laugh about, you can choose to laugh for no reason at all.
Children don’t need humor to laugh – they just laugh for the fun of it and because it feels good.
And it turns out that laughter really is the best medicine – it’s physical, emotional and mental benefits are now researched and proven.
What is Laughter Yoga?
I am a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader. Laughter yoga is a fun, easy, and good-for-you group activity that’s great for stress and anxiety relief (among other benefits – keep reading).
Laughter games or exercises are created by adding laughter to familiar movements for 20-30 seconds at a time. These guided, interactive laughter exercises are combined with deep centering breaths and calming movements.
Laughter Yoga is not yoga as you might imagine – no mats or yoga poses. It’s a group activity mostly done standing up and LAUGHING – with breathing and easy body movements.
It’s also a healthy workout and is adaptable to all levels of physical ability. It provides a form of aerobic and abdominal exercise:
1 minute of sustained laughter = 10 minutes on a rowing machine
15 minutes of sustained laughter = 100 sit ups
In a Laughter Yoga class, “simulated” laughter soon turns into real, spontaneous laughter that becomes contagious. Even though you don’t need a reason to laugh, the laughter actually becomes quite hilarious in and of itself.
Laughter Yoga was founded by Dr. Madan Kataria in India in 1995, motivated by his research on the psychological and physiological benefits of laughter.
Laughter Yoga for Stress & Anxiety
Laughter Yoga is another tool in your toolbox for stress and anxiety reduction. It’s a body-mind tool. Laughter is physical function of the body. It provides physical benefits, but also benefits to the mind – creating real chemical changes in the brain that can shift how you feel, allowing more positive thinking.
At the end of a Laughter Yoga class you will feel more relaxed, less tense and have a more open attitude. You can get unstuck and begin to see stressors and anxieties in your life in a new way. It can provide relief and teaches your body and your brain a new way to let go of anxiety.
There are so many benefits of Laughter Yoga:
• Reduces stress and anxiety
• Improves mood and positive thinking
• Relaxing, yet revitalizing with positive energy
• Reduces hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Increases oxygenation which helps all the cells in your body – exhales during laughter yoga release carbon dioxide and make more room for oxygen to come in
• Reduces pain by causing release of natural endorphins
• Strengthens your immune system
• Improves respiratory health