Fear and anxiety are bodily responses to a perceived threat or danger. They are triggered by a combination of biochemical changes in the body, past history and memory, and social circumstances. Both fear and anxiety are debilitating forces on the body and the mind. A person loses all sense of rationality and begins to gradually deteriorate. Because these feelings are frequently intense and distressing, it is quite normal to want to avoid them. However, ignoring or trying to eliminate anxieties is not the solution.
Laughter Yoga is a powerful tool with many reporting reduced stress levels and increased ability to handle fear and anxiety. The routine which combines laughter exercises with deep yogic breathing has the ability to transcend worries and change the mood state instantaneously. It releases endorphins, natural opiate, that kick starts good feelings and equips one to deal with pain.
Factors that trigger Anxiety - How LY helps
The autonomic nervous system (ANS): The nervous system is hard-wired to respond to dangers or threats. These responses are not subject to conscious control. The most familiar reaction of this type is the fight-or-flight reaction to a life-threatening situation. When people have fight-or-flight reactions, the level of stress hormones in their blood rises. They become more alert and attentive, their eyes dilate, their heartbeats increase, their breathing rates increase, and their digestion slows down, making more energy available to the muscles.
An extended hearty laughter counters the reactions of the ANS and activates the para sympathetic nervous system, which is the opposite of the ANS and is the cooling branch. Laughter Yoga stabilizes the heartbeat and the blood pressure.
Diseases and disorders: Anxiety can sometimes be a symptom of certain medical conditions. For example, the irregular functioning of the thyroid gland, respiratory distress syndrome and others. Regular practice of Laughter Yoga with deep breathing techniques boosts the Immune system. It also reduces the stress hormones which affect the mood state and put the person in a postive state of mind.
Childhood development and anxiety: Anxiety in adult life is at times a residue of childhood memories of dependency. This early experience of helplessness underlies the most common anxieties of adult life, including fear of powerlessness and fear of not being loved. A good hearty laughter is an effective tool for painless emotional catharsis. Laughter Yoga is a physical method of releasing pent up feelings and suppressed emotions by accentuating diaphragmatic movement and changing the breathing pattern.
Laughter Yoga - A release mechanism
With laughter exercises and deep breathing one can let go of all disturbing emotions embedded in the sub conscious mind. Prolonged hearty laughter provides a painful and non violent way to release fear and anxiety and improves mental health. It draws one out from dwelling in the past into the present. It makes it easier to handle life and its challenges, because it puts us strongly “in the moment”, and it’s when we are in the moment, that we are not aware of our problems. It’s as if we literally drop them. It breaks the worry cycle and releases one from the ‘worrisome’ experiences.
Social stress: Anxiety often has a social dimension. People frequently report feelings of high anxiety when they anticipate or fear the loss of social approval or love. Sadly, for many people modern life does not include a network of caring and sharing relationships --- the age-old extended family culture and its group bonding is breaking down. The lack of two-way emotional dialogue and relationship leaves us without emotional grounding, often resulting in feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Group laughter in a club provides a rich social network of people who care about one another, and perhaps even more importantly, a way of getting to know new people who we care about. This provides a sense of emotional security which resists stress and promotes excellence in all other areas of life.
Occupational stress: This is a rapidly growing worldwide phenomenon. Job dissatisfaction, frustration, bad relationships at the workplace all lead to enormous mental tension that can become a cause of major anxiety.
Laughter Yoga develops joyfulness which is the unconditional commitment to have fun despite all of the possible problems that we are faced with in life. Joyfulness is primarily a physical phenomenon. “Fake it till you make it”. The decision may come from the brain, but the process is physical. Because the body and the mind have a two way link, doing good changes the body chemistry and fosters a healthier state of being.