Laughter is a great mood booster

Laughter is a great mood booster

Autumn is here! Are you also wondering how that happened so quickly?

If, after a glorious summer, you are now experiencing the unpleasant effects of less sunlight, you are not alone.

Many people's mood goes slightly down as the days are getting shorter. Even if you don't suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) – also called winter depression – you might feel different than just a few weeks ago.

Does that sound familiar? If so, I hear you and … I have a possible solution for you!

As Mirthy's Laughter Yoga Leader, I strongly believe in the health benefits of laughter, which are indeed impressive.

"“It’s playful and rather silly - but best of all makes me feel great by the end of the session and that’s what it’s all about.” Elizabeth"

The most obvious gain is that it puts people in a good mood. We assess mood levels before and after the Laughter Yoga session. Many participants' mood goes up by at least (!) two points – and that's without drugs or pills, just by “a little bit” of laughter.

Dr Madan Kataria who is a medical doctor and created Laughter Yoga did quite a bit of research and found that laughter is a mild antidepressant as it releases endorphins and serotonin.

What's more, laughter can be a natural pain killer – again hormones and natural opiates play a big role in it – and without side effects.

""It enables me to relax and laugh away any tension I've been storing in my body.” Lesley"

Laughter is also a great stress relief and reduces the levels of stress hormones in our bodies. If you keep in mind that almost 90% of all illnesses are associated with stress and tension we hold in our body, laughter is an easy remedy, isn't it? So there is some truth in the old saying: “Laughter is the best medicine” - well, at least it's a start!

It sets me up for the day.” Anna

Some people go to the gym first thing in the morning, if that's not your thing, just keep in mind that laughter is an aerobic exercise – probably with much more fun! Research found that ten minutes of laughter equals thirty minutes on the rowing machine – you choose!

I could go on, but I'll stop here. For more health benefits, check out the PubMed research database where you'll find over 2,600 references to laughter – or simply join us for the next Mirthy class.

So why is it called Laughter Yoga?

Admittedly, it might be a bit confusing as I've spoken to many people who told me, they don't like yoga, they are not bendy enough and they are not interested in Laughter Yoga.

Well, they are missing all the fun.

The yoga reference comes from the fact that we do some simple stretching exercises in between the laughter. This is to support our oxygen intake even more. When we are laughing wholeheartedly, we increase the level of fresh oxygen in our cells and stale air is being exhaled. When we add the stretching exercises, we take even more deep breaths in and out.

As Dr Otto Warburg discovered all these years ago: a healthy body needs plenty of fresh oxygen.

"“The stretching and deep breathing, coupled with your guided meditation are just as important as the laughing, as they ensure Laughter Yoga is a complete mental and physical workout.” Lyn"

After half an hour of laughter and stretching, one might feel out of breath and in a rather giggly mood. Before we go back to the real world, I guide my participants through a brief grounding meditation, which is relaxing and sets us up for the week.

It’s crazy, it’s fun, and it does you good!” Diane

Now you know more about Laughter Yoga, are you encouraged – or should I say brave enough – to join us for the next session?

As you know, the proof is in the pudding. Just bring yourself, an open mind, the willingness to be childlike and joyful and remember to laugh like nobody is watching.

Rest Less Events Promotional Banner

About the host

Sylvia has a business background and a strong interest in natural health and therapies, she has a foundation training in counselling skills (COSCA), is a Jikiden Reiki practitioner and a Certified TRE® (Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises) Provider.

Article banner image photography povided by Rebecca Douglas Photography https://rebeccadouglas.co.uk/

Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter