Laughter Yoga Helps Cope With Anxiety And Panic Attacks

Saturday, 9 March 2013 16:59:49Back
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Anxiety, fear and panic attacks all produce mental and emotional stress. People afflicted by frequent anxiety and panic attacks are burdened with high loads of negative emotions generated from their past, which are then conditioned as seemingly permanent memory.

Laughter Yoga is a physical method of releasing pent up feelings and suppressed emotions by changing the breathing pattern. With laughter exercises and deep breathing one can let go of all disturbing emotions in the sub conscious mind.

Prolonged hearty laughter provides a painless and non violent way to release fear and anxiety and improves mental health. “Twenty minutes of laughter is enough to expel feelings that have mounted for years,” says Dr. Madan Kataria.

Laughter Yoga is an efficient disconnect from one’s memories. 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. Hence, it is the perfect method to combat panic attacks.

Laughter Yoga has the ability to change the mood state instantaneously. A laughter session is a great therapy for relaxation, which brings a sense of calmness that alleviates both physical and mental pain. It brings the body back to a normal state after a heightened panic condition of uncontrollable negativity and depression.

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This is the story of Christina Watson who suffered from severe anxiety and panic attacks since the age of 8! Right from her childhood she was plagued with these intensely negative emotions which made her life miserable even as she stepped into adulthood. Depressed and dejected for years she had almost given up on life till she discovered the world of Laughter Yoga. Her life changed for the better and the attacks have become less frequent.

“Believe me; I was taken to a shrink at the age of 8! I was in a special education class in grade 5 and was diagnosed with some learning disabilities and visual perception problems. I cried a lot and was always scared. I constantly complained of stomach aches and constipation and feared the reactions of other children. Even my brother resented me and called me a ‘cry baby’.

Being highly sensitive to things I feel pain more than others. Any little thing is enough to set off a panic attack. In fact, after I left home for college, the attacks became more frequent. I took the ECE program wanting to work with young children but had trouble being a leader type of person. I was very sick with and ended up on medications as the panic attacks became worse. Though I had very supportive parents, I could not help feeling depressed and fearful all the time.

The turning point came when I met Dr. Kataria. My life changed completely. Laughter Yoga helped my mind to relax and reduced the frequency of my panic attacks. I’m at peace with myself, can think clearly and have developed a positive viewpoint. It has helped me both physically and mentally and has changed my entire perspective.

I started Laughter Yoga in April of 2006 and since then I do my exercises faithfully every morning in front of the mirror in my bedroom. Laughter Yoga makes me joyful and is the reason for my happiness. I feel I can handle the stresses of daily living without getting agitated. I used to wake up scared but Laughter Yoga helped me get rid of fears and tensions and I’m no longer frightened in the morning. My eyes look brighter and there is less body pain when I laugh and chant ho ha ha ha ha hah!

My mom too noticed the remarkable changes. She finds me in a happy mood as I talk more about the positive things in my life instead of dwelling on the negative aspects. I have also started singing in the church choir which was unthinkable five years ago. Laughter Yoga improved my communication skills and my confidence to a very large extent. My mother calls me a social butterfly! I talk to everyone with a big smile on my face.

Laughter Yoga also helped me to deal with my father’s death. The attacks came back when he died early this year and I went into a state of depression and intense sadness. But, these exercises brought me out of my negative state and taught me to cope with the tragedy.

Laughter Yoga is keeping me well overall. I believe that if I leave off Laughter Yoga, I would again slip into a state of distress. The anxiety and the panic attacks would come back. Therefore, it’s my life’s mission to continue with this most powerful coping tool to keep well forever.”

- Christina Watson, Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada

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