Right now the last thing you might feel like doing is laughing. A lot of people are facing huge challenges in their daily lives. But despite this, if we can make that first effort to engage with our laughter, it can really help us physically, mentally and emotionally.
Many of us are experiencing a roller coaster of emotions just now from fear, tension, anxiety, grief (as our old way of life disintegrates). We may have financial challenges, uncertainty about our jobs; we may even be wondering when we will be able to see beloved family and friends again. Maybe we live in the city and are yearning for a walk on the beach or in the countryside.
Laughter can really help us through this. It doesn’t change our situation but it does change how we experience it. We hold lots of tension and anxiety in our diaphragm. In Transformational Breath®, we call this the Fear Belt. When we laugh, we engage our diaphragm and it moves up and down helping to ease tension and release stuck emotions. This emotional release takes the form of laughter, and sometimes we may experience other emotions like tears. This is perfectly healthy. We often feel a sense of relief after laughing as if all that stuck energy has shifted and we can literally breathe more easily.
Emotionally and mentally it helps us feel more positive. It’s hard to stay in a state of fear or be overcome with negative thoughts when we’re laughing. Laughter floods our bodies with healthy chemicals and stops that fight/flight/freeze cycle of fear. The adrenalin is switched off, our cortisol levels are lowered and our bodies produce feelgood endorphins.
Laughter has also been shown through scientific studies by Dr Lee Berk to increase the number of natural killer cells in our blood. These help fight viral infections. Good news just now. Norman Cousins literally laughed his way back to health when he was diagnosed with a life limiting condition called ankylosing spondylitis.
Bruce Lipton in his book, The Biology of Belief talks about how our thoughts influence our physiology and when we are in a state of fear or fight or flight, all our energy goes to running away. Many of the body’s other functions like digestion and even our immune system are suppressed as all our energy goes to our muscles to help us run away from a life-endangering threat. So by stopping this reaction, our immune system is much healthier. This is a great interview with Bruce. At 2 minutes in, he talks about Norman Cousins.
At the moment I am holding regular laughter yoga sessions on Zoom every Wednesday morning at 10 am and Thursday afternoon at 2 pm. I’m loving connecting people all over the country in these sessions. Come and join us and start your day in a positive way.
You can find details of how to register for these sessions on my Laughter Yoga Events page.
Finally I wanted to share with you a little ditty that I wrote recently. We sang it last week on Zoom. It’s my version of the 7 Dwarfs song of Heigh Ho. You can sing it with your kids and march round the living room.