‘Laughter is the best medicine’, you have probably heard that saying more than enough times. Laughing is an excellent way to reduce stress and can help you to cope with surviving a stressful lifestyle. Laughing releases endorphins, the ‘feel good’ hormone that makes one feel relaxed, at ease, and relieves pain.
An interesting fact is that our bodies cannot distinguish between real and fake laughter, anything that makes you giggle will have a positive impact. You do not need to be happy or have a sense of humour to benefit from a good laugh.
This is where laughter therapy comes in, it is a practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter.
This type of therapy is based on the belief that voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. It is done in groups, with eye contact, jokes and playfulness between participants. Forced laughter often turns into real and contagious laughter.
Laughter therapy sessions may start with gentle warm-up techniques which include stretching, chanting, clapping, eye contact and body movement, to help break down inhibitions and encourage a sense of playfulness. Breathing exercises are used to prepare the lungs for laughter, followed by a series of ‘laughter exercises’ that combine the method of acting and visualization techniques with playfulness. Laughter exercises are punctuated with breathing exercises.
Dr. Madan Kataria a world renown laughter therapist once said , “I have not seen anyone dying of laughter, but I know millions are dying because they’re not laughing.”
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Laughter therapy does not necessarily need to be conducted among a group of people, you can do it yourself. As stated above, our bodies cannot differentiate between real and fake laughter. Thus one is able to start laughing and ultimately releasing endorphins.
Next time you feel overwhelmed with what is going on in your life, sit down somewhere and have yourself a good hearty laugh, your body will thank you.