As a Wellbeing Practitioner with over 20 years in the complementary medicine field I found myself in a very depleted state.
Life events including caring for my mum who died of cancer had taken it’s toll on my inner spirit.
I didn’t feel like smiling and I didn’t feel I could laugh.
For some it can seem strange to seek to laugh when there isn’t a lot to laugh about, but the body has a wisdom of it’s own and often people will know what they need to do to improve their health if they listen closely enough.
I was drawn to laughter as I needed to laugh.
The many benefits of laughter have been documented from well known and scientifically backed up sources ie “Anatomy of an Illness” by Norman Cousins where he attributes laughter as a large part in his journey back to health. Dr Robert Holden’s pioneering Happiness Project within the NHS, and ground breaking Laughter Yoga started by Dr Madan and his wife Madhuri Kataria with just 5 people in a park in Mumbai in 1995.
So effective that now there are thousands of Laughter Yoga Clubs in over 70 countries world wide.
I felt such an impact to my emotional and physical wellbeing, I did all the trainings to qualify to lead and teach others.
My background and training in holistic mind and body understandings allowed me to integrate and blend this knowledge with the therapeutic effects of laughter.
Laughter is an innate ability that we are born with.
Laughter like tears is a natural built in balancing mechanism that allows whatever emotion is bubbling under the surface to be seen, heard and released.
For many who are living a more “unnatural fast paced life style” gyms are necessary to exercise, swimming pools are created so we have a safe place to swim, some of us juice so we get the vegetables needed to stay healthy. Basic needs that need to be met.
We are seeking to redress the balance.
Laughter used in a therapeutic way is a highly effective and enjoyable body- mind work out. creating immune boosting endorphins, positive chemical reactions in the brain. It has been shown that it burns per minute more calories than going on a rowing machine and is as strengthening to the stomach muscles as doing the plank
Sometimes there is not enough , outside ourselves for laughter to spill out, yet having a good laugh and the supressed emotions this releases is cathartic and healing.
It can be part of the journey back to knowing and really feeling the innate wisdom and wellbeing inside of you.
Medical research has shown the body-mind doesnt know the difference between real or simulated laughter – so laughter play and the breath work that results, gives all the amazing health benefits anyway.
The contagious effect spills over into real laughter which dissolves stress, brings more oxygen into the brain and is life affirming uplifting and fun.
One lady said to me she hadn’t laughed for so long that the sound of it almost startled her.
Another said “I have just remembered who I am”
Another example is of someone who having come out of an abusive relationship rediscovered her confidence through self expression and has gone on to do the training so she can support and help others who are going through similar experiences.
Emotions that have been suppressed can rise to the surface. Accepting how you feel whatever it is in that moment, allowing yourself to feel it without judging it good or bad , creates an opportunity to release possibly through tears first, and then paradoxically, the way is clear for laughter and a peace and acceptance to find its way in.
There is an old saying “If you can find a way to laugh about it – you can get through it”
Laughter in this way can be seen as a self development and self acceptance tool.
With this kind of therapeutic unconditional laughter you can let go of judgement about yourself and others.
After the release of cathartic Laughter a feeling of deep peace and a higher perspective can be experienced, supporting a happier, healthier way of navigating through life.. the ups, the downs and everything else in between!