Wonder what a big belly laugh can do for you?
Laughter can enhance your mood, your health, and your happiness. Everything from a slight giggle to huge laughter feeds your spirit and also builds connections and friendships.
You may have heard of the book Anatomy of an Illness by Dr. Norman Cousins published a few decades ago. Dr. Cousins was almost on his death bed, when he took up watching funny comedies and shows all day long for pain control. He wound up reversing his illness. Dr. Cousins later won numerous honorary degrees for writing his book, including the UN Peace Medal.
Laughter Yoga is based on this concept of healthy laughter that can be fun to do in group. Start laughing and see how contagious it can be. Keep the laughter going for 15 to 20 minutes. I have a few exercises to try in a group later in this article.
A daily 15-to-20 minutes of laughter can do wonders for your health. Researchers Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan at Loma Linda University in California studied the benefits of laughter and found these results. Start watching comedy shows or cartoons to begin reaping benefits.
Blood Pressure Drops
They found laughter lowers blood pressure. People who lower their blood pressure also reduce their risk of stroke and heart attack.
Reduces Stress Hormones
Researchers found it lowers stress hormones, like cortisol. By reducing the level of stress hormones, you’re cutting anxiety that impacts your body. Also, it helps build a higher immune system. Laughter, even in the midst of difficult times, releases pressure and helps you cope.
Build Strong Abs
One of the benefits of laughter is that it can help you tone your ab muscles. When you’re laughing, your stomach expands and contracts. It’s like exercising your abs, but so much more fun.
Improves Your Cardio
Get a great cardio workout with laughter. Even those who are incapable of doing other physical activity due to injury or illness, may benefit. Researchers claim laughter burns a similar amount of calories per hour as walking at a slow to moderate pace. So, laugh more, stress less.
Boosts Your Immunity
When you laugh, you activate T-cells that immediately begin to help you fight off sickness. Next time you feel a cold coming on, add some laughter to make it go away.
Releases Feel Good Hormones
Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. By laughing, you can release endorphins, which can help ease chronic pain and make you feel good all over.
Laughter can increase your overall sense of well-being. People who have a positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases better than people who tend to be more negative. Doctor’s order—smile, laugh, and live longer!
I have presented these exercises in my teacher trainings on mindfulness and they’ve been a hit! You may feel silly at first, but try these exercises in a group of people, as laughter is contagious. Make sure participants can look around the room and see others laughing. This is important and adds to the fun!
Exercise 1: You may stand or sit. As you take a big breath, bring your arms over head arching back a little. Then bring your arms down with laughter (Ha-ha-ha), having others join in and do the same. Keep doing this for several minutes. Bringing your arms up overhead, and then down with laughter (Ha-Ha-Ha.)
Exercise 2: Clap your hands in front of you 3 times, as you say: “Very good, Very good,” after the last “Very good,” lift your arms overhead, like the exercised before, and come down laughing. (Ha-ha-ha.). Keep doing this same exercise for several minutes.
Have a good laugh and pass it on!
Vicki Atlas Israel is a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist. Vicki is passionate about helping you feel less stressed, more calm, and happier Find her at HeartTalkNow.com. You can connect with her on Facebook and Instagram or email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com.