Laughter Yoga: An Effective Stress Relief Tool
When was the last time you felt like a kid again?
Silliness, laughter, and play aren’t really on the top of most people’s to-do lists these days. But maybe they should be!
Laughter yoga is the new-thing on the wellbeing scene, and it’s all about feeling good. The great thing is: it’s designed to give you the benefits of laughing whether you’re in a humorous mood or not!
It was first developed by Dr Madan Kataria in India, who recognised the mental, emotional, and physical benefits of laughing. Science backs that laughing not only improves your mood by releasing tension and stress, but that it can do many other things too—i.e. stimulate your immune system and circulation.
A study of nursing students found that this form of yoga was able to reduce depression and anxiety, improve sleep disorders, and benefit overall health. It’s been shown as effective in lowering insomnia and anxiety in retirement communities. And even for reducing the stress felt by cancer patients.
If you suffer from stress, laughing can be an effective way to manage it. But laughing when stressed isn’t easy—so how could you manage to do it and reap the benefits?
Though yoga brings up fears of flexibility, laughter yoga is based on pranayama—or yogic breathing. This acts to simulate the physical action of laughing. It also involves clapping, rhythmic spoken phrases, and various laughter exercises performed with others in the class.
Conveniently enough, our brains can’t tell the difference between genuine and fake laughter. And once you get started, you’ll likely end up having a genuine chuckle! Eye contact and a group setting also make the giggles highly contagious.
The stress-reducing effect of laughter yoga has prompted businesses to incorporate workshops into things like team building events and professional development meetings.
Laughter Yoga Australia states that the positive effects will be effective enough to reduce sick days, increase productivity, stimulate problem solving, improve optimism and motivation—just to name a few benefits!
Does your team need a mood booster?
Companies are popping up with the know-how to bring these stress-busting classes to your office. If you give it a go, it may also be helpful to survey your team’s stress levels before and after a session. This will give you an idea of how effective it is for your office.
If this sounds like something you’d like to regularly integrate into workplace wellbeing, you can even become a certified Laughter Yoga Leader in a two-day course. This would give you the flexibility to incorporate helpful 10-min sessions with your team any day of the week.
As one laughter yoga company says:
"Laughter is too important to leave to chance."