Spreading Laughter Yoga Helped Me Regain My Mental Health
Tanaz Bamboat: Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to live with bipolar disorder for the rest of your life. Because it is not true. You can take your life back. I did. As a ten-year survivor of bipolar disorder, the first thing that contributed to my success was finding something to focus on, that would take my mind off my condition and give me something new and exciting to look forward to – and that was Laughter Yoga.
Very often, we underestimate the power of a hug, a smile, a hearty laugh or the smallest act of caring, all which have the potential to turn a life around. With so much power to heal and the ability to make one laugh easily, Laughter Yoga is a great tool for supporting both physical and mental well-being, surmounting adversities and enhancing relationships.
I was going through a dark period of my life after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I had completely stopped laughing for days, which soon turned to weeks and more than six months. Overcoming a mental illness takes hard work, patience, medication and much more. The stigma attached to mental disorders prevents people from getting help, and patients suffer silently. I could relate to the constant feelings of anxiety, low-self- esteem, hopelessness and loneliness because I have been there. In fact, having suffered myself, I felt an intrinsic need to help others in a similar situation. I wanted to comfort the sick and depressed, and let them know that they are not alone and that we can help ourselves to get our life back. I knew Laughter Yoga is one such exercise routine that has enormous benefits and is a great complimentary therapy.
Practicing Laughter Yoga on a daily basis for 10—15 minutes improves our and others mental health and social well-being. It triggers positive emotions which reduces stress, pain and anxiety. Laughter releases endorphins which changes the mood state instantly, thereby generating a positive mental attitude, which helps one to overcome mental and physical disabilities.
With Laughter Yoga in my life, I realized the importance of sharing and giving. At any moment, when you look outside yourself and focus on what someone else needs, you can begin to see what you can do to help. Fulfilling that need gets your mind off yourself and gives you a purpose. It increases your self-worth and gives you a larger sense of meaning. Laughter actually taught me that helping others is the ultimate happiness boost.
I started a Laughter Club in 2006, which helps me share the power of laughter with varied people. When I see them laughing and having a great time, I feel I have found my purpose and meaning in life. My goal is to bring more laughter and joy into the lives of people, strengthen relationships and improve support systems for those will mental illness – And what better way than Laughter Yoga! Hahaha