There is increasing medical evidence that a good dose of laughter can help treat conditions from eczema to heart disease. Laughter has been show to have an effect on the heart, lungs, muscles and even the gut. Laughter affects our mood and lifts our spirits and is a powerful tool to have in your kit bag at difficult times.
I discovered the incredible effects of laughter as therapy at a time in my life when (on reflection) I desperately needed to laugh. At the time I was unaware of the depths of healing that might occur during a laughter yoga session – all I knew was that, after my first, mirthful, session, I was never the same again! Immediately afterwards I felt….kind of high… I liken the sensation to having a shot of morphine.
I didn’t know, at that time, anything about the positive effects that hearty laughter could have on the body affecting the release of positive, feel good chemicals into the blood stream. I decided to train as a laughter yoga leader and the following words in the training manual explained, perfectly, what had happened to me during the session and why, I said I was ‘never the same again’.
‘Teaching a person who has a lot of inhibitions to laugh is, like flushing a drain, which is blocked with rubble. Once you remove the rubble, water will flow’
There is still, within each and every one of us, the essence of an innocent, happy, child – hard to believe but it is true. The intention behind my ‘Spirit of Laughter’ sessions is to connect us (even in a small way) to the essence of the smiling, child within. You don’t need a sense of humour to participate in my sessions because laughter exercise and/or pretend laughter will have the same, positive effect on our wellbeing as genuine laughter.
Of course I do not expect everyone who laughs with me to have the same dramatic experience as I had – but I do receive fantastic feedback. I am now mainly invited to laugh – I have laughed with schools, with mental health organisations, with W.I.s and even a church (I still have a wonderful memory of the vicar lying on his back with his legs in the air laughing)! I laugh at hen parties, birthdays and any event where people are, simply, ready for a good laugh.
The Spirit of Laughter sessions last around an hour and involve meditation, gentle exercise, movement, laughter exercise and relaxation. Get in touch if you want to know more or to experience a session for yourself. Seriously – it even works one to one.
Jude took the group through warm up exercises, standing informally in the hall space like pretending to be a chicken. Slightly funny! Then onto specific laughter routines and interacting with fellow members, like using a hand as a mirror and showing that reflection to each other – greeting and speaking gibberish – by which time we were participating and getting fully involved. Absolute hysteria!
One member in particular became hysterical and could not stop laughing – a testament to Jude’s skill in providing opportunities for hearty, deep, spontaneous laughter. And the smiles – did you know you can’t really laugh without smiling, of a sort. So win win all round.
Stitches, split sides, belly ache, doubled up, fit to burst – then you realise all these expressions have an equal link to – LAUGHTER!
And so Jude Robinson came to McG WI May’s meeting to help us laugh and at the same time improve our well being both mentally and physically.
First of all each member was given a sticker of a smiley face and that’s where it all fell apart, from the very beginning really. The first member stuck her smiley face to her jumper, the next on a blouse – by the last member they were stuck on cheeks, foreheads, noses, glasses. Trust McG members to find humour in displaying a sticker!