“Laughter is the sound of the soul dancing.
My soul probably looks like Fred Astaire.”
— Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not for Sale
Laughter! It’s the sound of play, of amusement. Some say that the modern human ‘ha’ha’ evolved from the ancestral ‘pant-pant,’ the sound of laboured breathing of physical play (or could have been from the frantic
race away from a wooly mammoth! Either way, laughter is a great way to relieve stress, turn positive emotions into amusement and definitely helps us to cope!
“The science is solid around the issue of cardiovascular health and immunity as benefits of laughing. Just anticipating a good laugh increases the production of immune cells in saliva. However,.....to get the benefits we would need to do it for 10 to 20 minutes a day!’ (Albert Nerenberg, Laughologist, Montreal’ Mr. Nerenberg uses laughter
techniques to help depression, high blood pressure and even addiction at the Sobriety Home in Quebec. He says it seems to help.
Ramon Mora-Ripoll, Medical Scientific Director, Organizacion Mundial de la Risa, Barcelona, Spain adds “Laughter helps us cope with stress and alleviates pain by distracting us and increasing pain tolerance. Laughter potentially stimulates endorphin release and the release of neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, all causing benefits. Cortisol is lowered by therapeutic laughter and the home decrease accounts for stress-coping and other metaboic health changes related to blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol.”
And yes, there is now Laughter Yoga! Madan Kataria is credited with being the ‘inventor’ of Laughter Yoga, wherein people just get together and spend some time laughing. Laughter Yoga has gone world-wide and there are plenty of videos on utube to view!
Using Laughter Yoga anytime has a very lightening effect and leaves everyone feeling quite wonderful! Whoever is leading the group, though, has to be really into it, though, otherwise it won’t fly. Here are some of the techniques that I have found to be very useful.
Standing with a few friends…. or Seated in a Circle. This works great with kids/teens!
Warmup by clapping......2 claps on the left side, 3 claps on the right. Say “ HO HO, HA HA HA”
Use the above as a transition between the different practices below. Keeps the energy up!
Leader says “Cell Phone Laughter” ...mimes talking on a cell phone while hearing something hilarious. Laughing laughing.
Then HO HO, HA HA HA...clapping side to side.
You have to use your imagination, and your drama skills!
Silent Laughter. Humming Laughter with mouth closed. Shy Laughter, Forgiveness Laughter, Lion Laughter. Etc.
Make up your own exercises! Throwing arms in air......Lottery Laughter! Etc.
My favourite is Leprechaun Laughter. Think about it. Absolutely Hilarious!
Have fun. Laugh a lot!