What’s involved? - Deepstash
What’s involved?

What’s involved?

A typical laughter yoga session will involve breathing exercises, stretches and guided routines to help get you laughing. Your instructor might tell you to think of a funny memory, ask you to act out some different types of laughing, or encourage some awkward eye contact with different members of the group in the hope that someone will crack.

The idea behind this fake-it-till-you-make-it approach is that even if you aren’t feeling it at first, real laughter will eventually take over and you’ll begin to reap the benefits.

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MORE IDEAS FROM Should You Try Laughter Therapy

Reducing Anxiety

In a laboratory study, subjects were falsely led to believe that they would receive an electric shock after 12 minutes.

While they waited for the shock, they were played either a funny tape recording, one that wasn’t funny, or no tape at all, while markers of anxiety were measured. Those who listened to the funny tape rated themselves less anxious than the other two groups.

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Improves General Health

A study published in 2014 looked at the impact of laughter yoga sessions on the general health of 38 male nursing students. The participants were assigned either one hour of laughter yoga a week, or no intervention.

Overall, the group who took part in the laughter yoga showed improvement in their general health, with a reduction in sleep disorders, anxiety and depression. While the results are promising, note that this research was only carried out on men.

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Should you try laughter  therapy ?

It’s often said that laughter is the best medicine – and there’s hard science behind the expression. When we laugh, endorphins – known as our happy hormones – are released into the blood stream, lifting our mood .

In 1995, intrigued by the research on the benefits of laughter. Dr Madan Kataria created his own Laughter Club. He gathered his small laughter therapy group. He started encouraging the group to act out the laughing sounds until the laughter became real and contagious. This developed into a technique called laughter yoga, which is now practised in groups all over the world.

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Any science behind it?

Dr Lee Berk, associate professor of Health Promotion and Education at Loma Linda University in California, began researching the benefits of laughter in the late 1970s.

He observed that laughter could reduce the effects of the stress hormone cortisol. Berk’s research also revealed that laughter can increase levels of natural killer cells, a type of white blood cell, which are needed to fight off viruses and tumour cells and keep the body healthy.

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Managing Menopause

A 2012 study investigated whether laughter therapy could have wellbeing benefits for women going through menopause. Subjects participated in five 30-minute sessions of laughter therapy with results measured against a control group. A series of questionnaires revealed that laughter therapy helped increase optimism and self-esteem and reduce depression for menopausal women, compared to the control group.

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Laughter As A Medicine

According to a variety of studies published in established journals right from the 70s, laughing is extremely good for body health. Even ten minutes of a good laugh is enough for an anaesthetic effect on our bodies and also for pain-free sleep.

Laughter is associated with stronger immunity, reduced depression systems and reduced pain for people having diseases like cancer.

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Benefits of self-directed laughter

Self-directed laughter helps maintain positive mental health during stressful times, diffuses a tense situation, and brings the focus back to what's more important.

Psychologists call laughing at oneself, “self-directed laughter” - having insight while still having a sense of self-acceptance. Laughing at yourself is good for your wellbeing if you can:

  • look at your weaknesses & mistakes with compassion.
  • laugh without putting yourself down. 
  • see the funny side of embarassing situations.

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Gelotology: the study of humor and laughter
  • This is what the physiological and psychological study of laughter is called.
  • It was founded by American psychologist, William Fry, from Stanford University.

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