No matter the scenario, everyone feels better after sharing a laugh with a friend.
But did you know there are many benefits to incorporating laughing yoga therapy into your daily life? Lotte Mikkelsen, ambassador and leading laughter yoga instructor at UnitedMind, is adamant that learning the technique can help people build mental and emotional resilience.
"In laughter yoga, a series of movements and breathing exercises are used to promote deliberate laughter," she explained. "Through controlled breathing, laughter yoga helps reduce stress and anxiety that the body may be experiencing. As a result, the body's natural relaxation system, known as the parasympathetic nervous system, is activated, allowing for higher oxygen uptake."
Lotte noted that the whole body relaxes when we laugh, while a good giggle can also release endorphins that help boost mood.
Those intrigued by the method can try it out at home by practising gradient laughter, that is, gradually increasing the volume of a chortle, or greeting people by laughing instead of using words or a handshake.
"Laughter gives you more than just a temporary release from sadness and pain. It gives you the courage and strength to move forward. Even in the worst of circumstances, a smile or a simple laugh can bring you some relief," the expert continued. "The act of laughing relieves distress. A person who is laughing is less likely to feel anxious, angry, or sad. Furthermore, laughter can help reframe situations so that they appear more realistic and less intimidating. A humorous perspective can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and diffuse anxiety or conflict by creating psychological distance."