President of LaughWA Inc, Janni has practised laughter yoga since its arrival in Western Australia in 2000. Indeed, she was using laughter therapeutically well before, inspired by the original clown doctor, Dr Patch Adams, and applying playful techniques with client families when she worked in the disability sector.
As an advisor for ageing and disability issues for the National Council of Women Western Australia, Janni has kept abreast of all things ‘wellbeing’ for many years. Love Laughter and Longevity is the result, jam-packed with general information for healthy longevity.
Janni, a self-confessed ‘infomaniac’, took some time out from her schedule of book presentations to talk with me about outsmarting stress and the role laughter plays.
HeatherJoy: Much of what you present in Love, Laughter and Longevity appears to be common sense: eat well, sleep well, move well, stay socially connected. Is common sense a rare commodity these days?
Janni Goss: Quite possibly! I think many people are not really “in” their bodies. They’re swept up in social media or stressed out instead of being in the moment and tuned in to how they are feeling. We need to be mindful of what we are doing and how we are feeling in order to make healthy choices to cope when stress mounts or life gets a little out of whack.
HeatherJoy: What, in your experience, is the most overlooked aspect of wellbeing?
Janni Goss: Without doubt people’s inability to understand what triggers stress their stress, how they react to it and using unhealthy strategies to deal with physical and emotional pain.
HeatherJoy: You write also of the power of thoughts…
Janni Goss: Indeed, we can choose what we think, how we think. We can choose our attitude. We’re wired towards a negative bias. We can, consciously and with practice, discipline ourselves to view events more positively and with gratitude.
HeatherJoy: You were a very early adapter of Laughter Yoga. How important is laughter really?
Janni Goss: Dr Martin Seligman has done a great deal of research on happiness and wellbeing, resulting in his 5 pillars of wellbeing—positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment. For me, Laughter Yoga definitely fulfils all 5. I share positive emotions and positive relationships at every laughter club session or presentation. When engaged in Laughter Yoga, I am totally focussed and involved which puts me in a state of flow. The engagement and response from participants is reward worth celebrating! So laughter and my Laughter Yoga tribe are very important to me!
Also laughter reduces stress and tension by lowering cortisol levels. What a great reason to invite more laughter into your life!
HeatherJoy: You also write of the need to appreciate simple pleasures.
Janni Goss: We take simple pleasures so readily for granted. Think of breathing. We just breathe! Every day I have a whole lot of little simple pleasures from the ‘love in’ with my cat when I first wake up to making breakfast, smelling the plunger coffee, bring grateful for the abundance of water as I stand in the shower… so it goes on. Focus on and appreciate simple pleasures to “take good in” and you will create positive neural pathways.
Take the first step towards being responsible for better health and wellbeing—and enjoyment of life! Click here to order your copy of Janni’s book Love Laughter and Longevity: The Art and Science of Wellbeing (published by Global Publishing Group).
(c) Heather Joy Campbell 2018