Laughter: The Best Therapeutic Yoga in 2020
6years old I kept pondering on why these men in the garden are practicing fake laughter, loudly with their hands in the air when one can easily laugh without making it a group activity and how every time I tried it, it always felt funnier.
It took a puberty hit, a career race, and a few heartbreaks to comprehend why a good laugh is not in much correlation with humor because as a child I could laugh on anything and everything. Laugh was always a smile heard out loud that echoed happiness and love.
A woman laughs only 15 times a day and men only 8, strange isn’t it? In reality, it isn’t, a good laugh turns out to be an occasional gift as we grow up and mature through life by sacrificing the child in us, which is eventually taking a toll on our mental health by swelling the rates of depression, anxiety served in our salad and worrisome stress, our bread, and butter.
It’s high time we buckle up and prevent ourselves from the Kalyug of Sadness and adopt ways to manage stressors of life.
One such modality that’s proving to be easy, handy and yet very effective is “Laughter”, which is an act of expressing happiness, joyous emotions with a chuckle or explosive sound.
Being a psychologist myself, I have observed that people with a regular habitual laugh have reported to endure better competences for handling daily stressors of life as compared to others who don’t.
A good laugh always makes the atmosphere light; additionally, a few types of research have also stated the prevalence of laugh not only enhances bonds but the very person is perceived as attractive and desirable
Laughter is a consequence of happiness, but laughter is powerful enough to induce happiness too.
When many people complain about how they feel they aren’t facilitated with many reasons to laugh about, we intend to explain the reverse-psychology. Understanding the physiological mechanism of laughter could develop an appreciation towards how it restores the “happy” feelings.
Alike other exercises “laughing” involves a lot of muscles and complete usage of lungs, which releases an abundance of endorphins and neurotransmitters that is similar to the drug ‘morphine’, causing a feeling of euphoria! An increase in heart rates during a good laugh ensures healthier cardiac health, lowering blood pressure so much so that 15mins of mind-full laughter burnt up to 50 calories, isn’t it really good?
Laughter Yoga is a trending de-straining therapy opted by increasing population today, it was developed by Dr. Madan Kataria back in 1950s(Mumbai), promising that Laughter Yoga is capable of fighting depression and boosting immunity, gradually inculcating positive thinking. Besides enriching general wellbeing, it also heightens mental functioning and capacity to have better communication, helping people vastly struggling with social inhibitions.
Laughter Yoga is a remarkable combination of deep breathing drills and laughter exercises, which oxygenate the body ensuring a radiant skin, for most of the facial muscles are involved. Why not just laugh before entering a party for an extra glow!
‘Laughter is a medicine with no side effects’
Another modality enriches the experience by extending it to trance experience, suggesting after a mindful laughter session, drop down into silence and let the meditation begin, enriching the physiological laughter to help mind falling into deeper silence and stillness. It is believed that it gives the mind a glimpse of freedom.
How to Cultivate a Habit of Laughter?
Like happiness is not circumstantial, but our perception towards it, similarly laughter is not based upon humor presented to us but our CHOICE to laugh. Once a conscious decision has been made to bring and practice laughter, the following 3 steps method can be repeated for approximately 10 minutes every day and then gradually time can be increased.
3 Simple steps to practice laughter on a daily basis:
- Breathe in deeply
- Raise hands
- Laugh the breath out, gradually lowering your hands
A few additional ideas to facilitate a better outcome can be follows:
- Make sound of Ho Ha Ha Ha
- Clap your hands or swing them in fun, it will acupuncture the points in palms
- Use the moment to mimic the sound that you find funny
- Think of funny or embarrassing moment that happened, make an effort to share and try attaching a good laugh to it, thus reducing the intensity it made on you in the first go.
- You can even jingle it a bit like a kid “Good Clap, Happy Time, Yayyyyyyyyyy” with claps
Even if it feels silly in starting, keep on doing it, that’s why they say “fake it till you make it”, eventually the results will encourage developing an eye for finding humor in little things around you, hence stimulating constant reminders for laughter and happy lives.
Laughter is an instant Vacation’-Milton Berle
-CHt. Barkha Manocha
Psychologist, Clinical Hypnotherapist
Director, Meraki Psychology Meraki is Happie to See You Happy