Laughing and how it helps to Reduce Stress
Laughter is one of the greatest gifts to human beings that can actually work as a medicine. It’s easy and free—share a joke, through back your head and have a good laugh. Not only can laughter elevate your mood but also helps relieve pain and reduce stress levels.
Some of you might not know but in the 1990s a medical professional called Dr. Madan Kataria introduced ‘laughter yoga’. The doctor believed that laughter helps us deal with stressful situations and balances mental and physical wellness. Keeping that in mind, he developed some interesting techniques to stimulate laughter. Dr. Kataria’s first laughter club was established in Mumbai, India, which was followed by thousands of similar laughter clubs all over the world.
Laughter therapy works through several exercises that focus on laughter. The laughter yoga isn’t all about laughing but it is a combination of laughter, stretches, and deep breathing. Yoga tried to explore a connection between mind and body. The laughter is sometimes real and at other times enforced, but the exercises are always real. Mr. Kataria believes that laughter therapy improves the quality of life and helps people practice optimism, positivity, and resilience. The laughter yoga usually required a trained instructor that guides the participants through different breathing exercises and promotes laughter as means of expression. Chanting and further breathing exercises are also thrown in the mix to maximize relaxation. Sometimes certain physical exercises such as stretching, meditation, and yoga practices are also included in certain sessions. Laughing helps our brain release endorphins, which causes the “feel-good” sensation. It helps our body and mind relax and mitigates stress. The breathing exercises can help improve the robustness of the respiratory system and can also strengthen the immune system. It can also decrease the risk of certain diseases.
With the current situation with pandemic, it will be difficult to get enrolled for a proper laughter therapist. However, one can start practicing laughter with some simple exercises at home.
If your find laughter is difficult, you can start with some clapping accompanied by forced laughter. You can go around greeting people in your household with laughter while making eye contact with the other person(s). You can also try the humming laughter technique by closing your lips together and humming while faking laughter. Similarly, you can try Gradient Laughter: start with a smile and graduate to a chuckle. Gradually up the intensity till you reach belly laughter. A burst of hearty laughter isn’t a bad idea—you can stretch your arms and put them above your head, turn your face towards the sky, and start laughing as much as you can. If you’re failing to inspire yourself, try boring laughter: start with fake laughter and keep repeating it till your start feeling the genuine laughter in your belly. You can also try out silent laughter by opening your mouth wide and laughing making no sound. You may maintain funny gestures while maintaining eye contact with another person.
Laughing Yoga has many benefits. Laughter helps reduce cortisol levels and the release of endospores, dopamine, and serotonin helps in multiple ways. A reduction of cortisol translates into a reduction of stress. According to some researchers, our bodies cannot tell the difference between fake and real laughter, so forced laughter can also help reduce stress levels and help us lift our mood. Endorphins work like natural painkillers and can ease chronic pain very naturally.
Good laughter also helps reduce blood pressure. When we laugh, our heart rate and oxygen levels are raised which can improve the circulation of blood in our veins. Laughing improves breathing, decreases the risk of heart conditions and cardiovascular problems, and it also reduces blood pressure. The best part is that reduced cortisol levels mean an increase in energy levels which can result in an optimistic and positive mental state. Laughter is contagious! It can help us improve our relationships, improve our lifestyle, and can even make us popular among our family, friends, and peer. The best part is that laughter is free. It really doesn’t cost a dime. It is great for communicating with the body and curbing stress levels. It can result in great amusement, optimism, and enjoyment. It can also help you become more expressive. It also increases mindfulness. A lot of research is still needed to establish the effectiveness of yoga laughter. However, having a good laugh doesn’t hurt at all. Whether you feel lonely, stressed, anxious, or in a low mood, laughter can always help. It is the most natural way of forgetting your burdens for a moment and become free as a child.