Laughter Yoga instructor Denise Gibbons from the Brisbane Laughter Club recently conducted a course that helps people use Laughter Yoga for stress management. According to her the first attempt at Laughter Yoga is intimidating for most people as doing childlike actions like clapping, chanting ho ho ha ha ha and laughing with complete strangers is very uncomfortable. Some people find it really weird and say it feels like fake. But research suggests that the body is unable to differentiate between real and fake laughter so one can reap the benefits even when the laughter is forced. Just 10 15 minutes of fake laughter every day improves mood, relieves stress, strengthens the immune system, reduces blood pressure, inspires a positive mental state and increases quality of life.
Laughter Yoga also encourages a bond between people as they seek to let go of their inhibitions and enjoy laughing loudly without social implication. It is a great social connector and relies on a simple but profound concept, that laughing is a highly beneficial, social, contagious act that doesnt have to occur for any reason other than because it is fun and sessions encourage peace and happiness.
Gibbons adds, I feel happier all the time. Yes I get sad, yes I get angry and all the other emotions but I just find that theres just this underlining sort of hum, almost of joy, thats just there. Im sure its because I do the Laughter Yoga.
Regardless of if the benefits are physical, mental or consist solely of putting a smile on someones face, Laughter Yoga is a positive force in the world.
Here are some comments from participants at the Jal Vayu Laughter Club in Delhi:
Surinder Grover: I was a disabled person for around 40 years. A lot of doctors tried their best. I had to go in for steroids, painkillers and other medicines to revive the nerves in my back. I thought my life was finished. I was forced by my wife to come here. After that I have never looked back. All medicines are gone and I am moving around. This laughter has made me realize that there is still more to come.
Jetinder Kumar: I hardly ever smiled, forget about laughing. But ever since I joined this club I laugh, how I laugh. Joining this club has improved my sense of humor.