Why Laughter is good
Laughter, both fake and real has many health and workplace benefits. Research shows that it has an affect on blood pressure, cortisol levels (stress), increases positive emotions boosting productivity and reduced workplace accidents and absenteeism.
The body can not tell the difference between pretend laughter and real laughter but as laughter is contagious it usually switches from pretend to real, quite quickly, however for a few it takes a while.
Laughter Yoga invokes childlike play so is within everyone’s capabilities and therefore non stressful. The rules are no new pain and participants are encouraged to go at their own pace. It is not necessary to keep in time and is non competitive.
How does it work?
Laughter is created by exhaling. Movement, while laughing, increases the rate that carbon dioxide is expelled from the lungs allowing more oxygen in. Deep breathing exercises soften the diaphragm, a muscle dividing the upper and lower body cavity, which allows it to work in a bellows fashion. On the in breath it is pushed down into the lower cavity putting pressure on the bowel area, and on release comes up pushing into the upper cavity forcing out more air. When stressed we shallow breath and often this has become a habit. The diaphragm becomes a little used muscle and tightens and the body suffers for it.
Our words describe our behaviours and by “feeling down” or being “up” is often what is happening in the body. If we shallow breathe, our chests are flattened and we are down, deep breathing expands the chest and lifts it up making us feel ‘up’.
According Dr William Fry, 10 minutes o laughter is equivalent to 30 minutes on a rowing machine.
The playfulness exercises invoke a playful mental attitude which enhances free expression and helps remove the masks we wear to survive.. Laughter Yoga provides a type of release and can act as a catharsis during intense laughter. Such a release helps the body ’let go’ which frees the emotional baggage and helps communication skills.
A hearty laugh can help improve sleep as it relaxes both the body and the mind. Happiness is the here and now, “I am happy to be here, doing this”, joy is what is in the heart. The playfulness of Laughter Yoga helps change that inner state, it finds the source of joy. Joy allows us to interact with others better and enables laughter to come instead of tears at times that things are going wrong and it is out of our control.
The joy from regular laughter reduces the emotional stuff which leads to feeling on edge which shows as anxiety and depression, and the more physical disorders like pain, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, and allergies.
More oxygen in the system, relaxation from tension, and the exercise all stimulate the body which boosts the immune system. Healthy people have less absenteeism, and are more likely to have a good attitude.
Laughter Yoga switches off the left thinking brain allowing unconditional laughter and childlike playfulness. This results in participants feeling their emotions and using the laughter to change negative ones into positive.
When we are happy, more people want to be with us and therefore we have better chances of communicating and more important people listening. We are less likely to be critical and relate to a wider range of people.
I would love to come and laugh with you and your staff.
For more info try www.laughteryoga.org, www.laughteryoga.org.nz