By Connie Costa, Laugh and Live Well

Many people may agree that laughter feels good. Through life experience, we may come to realise the importance of having tools in our toolbox, to support and enhance our health and wellbeing. We may begin to explore tools for our personal development and growth.

Laughter is a powerful tool that enhances health and wellbeing. It creates real biochemical and physiological changes in the body and feels great.

7 Benefits Of Laughter

Laughter:

  • Reduces cortisol, or ‘stress hormone’ levels in the body, allowing us to feel calmer and more relaxed.
  • Improves mood. Laughter releases endorphins, which are natural ‘feel good’ hormones.
  • Reduces pain. Endorphins are also natural pain killers.
  • Creates positive energy. Positive energy can be felt by people around us too. It has a ripple effect. It has the ability to enhance the mood and energy levels of the people we interact with.
  • Increases connection. People bond through displays of positive emotions such as smiling. Genuine smiles and laughter are social cues that we are safe in an environment. Feeling safe frees up energy for other things, such as creativity.
  • Shifts energy in the body. Emotions are commonly referred to as ‘Energy In Motion’. This is because emotions, such as fear and anger, need to move through the body’s system, in order to be released. Laughter has the ability to shift energy that is stored in the body. People commonly feel lighter, relaxed and more energised after a Laughter Wellness experience.
  • Boosts the immune system, which can become compromised during times of stress. If Laughter Researcher Dr Lee Berk had his way, medical doctors would prescribe laughter for half an hour, 3-4 times a week, just like exercise.

With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why laughter is too important to leave to chance. Relying on natural laughter or desirable conditions, is leaving laughter to chance. As human beings, we have the ability to laugh unconditionally, as long as we are willing. When we do, we may reap real rewards.

Did you know that there is a two-way link between mind and body?
When we feel happy, we may smile and laugh, but studies have also shown that the act of physically smiling and laughing activates our ‘feel-good’ hormones and boosts our mood.

Laughter Is Contagious
Evidence also suggests we have mirror neurons that naturally trigger us to smile, when we see someone smiling. Have you noticed that we may also laugh at the sound of laughter and that sitcoms play a laugh track?

A Wellbeing Practice that Utilises the Power of Laughter for Health and Wellbeing
Each moment of laughter has some benefit, including the giggles that flow from funny cat videos on social media. In order to experience more of the benefits of laughter, laughter should last for at least ten-fifteen minutes and come from the diaphragm.

Laughter Wellness
Laughter Wellness is an interactive wellbeing practice that intentionally puts the energy of laughter into motion, to enhance health and wellbeing, without jokes, comedy or humour. It is a process designed to create positive energy. We choose to laugh, because we can. As we now know, this enables us to receive the many benefits of laughter. Examples of exercises may include positive affirmations, sharing happy news, tapping into the energy of celebration, appreciation and of course laughter. Laughter Wellness empowers us with tools to elevate our state.

Why It’s So Effective
In Laughter Wellness, people come together in a group with the intention of choosing to laugh and express positive emotions. We clap, smile, laugh and move around joyfully, which creates the chemistry of joy. By engaging in movements of joy and experiencing the joy of others, genuine feel-good chemistry is created. The highlight for many people is the laughter meditation, where there is an opportunity to experience free-flow belly laughter, which is a powerful and cathartic experience. Laughter Wellness provides a safe space for positive self-expression.

Some Tips For Creating Positive Energy and Adding More Laughter Into Our Lives
Affirmations: Affirmations are positive statements, worded in the present tense, that describe how we feel or how we want to feel. They may start with ‘I am’ for example ‘’I am strong and energised.’’ In addition to saying an affirmation, it is important to feel and embody it too.

Appreciation: An exercise, from The Heart Math Institute, that allows us to effectively feel the energy of appreciation involves focusing our attention on the space in and around the heart space and taking a few breaths from this space. Then bringing up an elevated emotion such as appreciation, as we continue to breath in an out from the heart space. Feel free to take a few moments to try it!

Choose To Laugh Unconditionally: So much laughter has the potential to flow, when we are out of our head and unconcerned about ‘’what’s so funny?’’. Imagine walking into a room and hearing colleagues in a fit of giggles. We could either a) need to know what’s so funny or make a confused face and allow the laughter to dissipate or b) simply connect to the pure, unconditional human expression of laughter and allow the contagiousness of the laughter to flow. When we move through life experiencing laughter this way, it can be lots of fun.

Laughter is a powerful tool that enhances health and wellbeing. When we intentionally and unconditionally add it to our wellness toolbox, we are able to experience more laughter and the many benefits!

Written by Connie Costa
Laugh and Live Well

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