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Best gift is mental well-being

Group of people in a park practising laughetr yoga, hand clapping and laughing

What’s the best present you’ve ever received?

A few years ago, my kids (uni students at the time) pooled together to buy me an ‘experience’ for my birthday present.

They gifted me a two-day laughter yoga leader training workshop.

I was delighted: I’d been doing laughter yoga for a while at the time and loved it as an activity. I don’t know that I was aware at the time, but my kids had noticed I was a little less stressed, a little less anxious and a lot brighter. They’ve seen a lot more of that since.

What they actually gifted me was a tool for my mental well-being.

The two-day laughter leader training gave me a basic understanding of how and why laughter yoga made such a difference and taught me a whole lot of exercises.

In doing the exercises, I was slowly rewiring my brain. Without realising it, I started to change the way I thought and acted. I started to let go.

Laughter yoga’s part in handling ‘ISO’

Laughter yoga was a big part in me coping better psychologically with COVID-19 in 2020.


And not just me. Since April 2020, I offered laughter yoga sessions to friends (and strangers who are now friends) via a video-conference app. When I asked them why they tried, and kept doing, laughter yoga online, the responses were about feeling good.

“Laughter sessions help me keep laughing and smiling and feeling good as opposed to being despondent,” said one participant who had been a regular at my ‘laughter club in the park on a weekend.

“I feel a lot lighter—like a whole weight had been lifted off my shoulders!” said another who lived in Melbourne, a city locked down for months, and had never heard of the practice before.

Addressing a mental health tsunami

Mental health is being acknowledged widely as the next pandemic. The isolation from family members, friends and colleagues imposed by border closures, lock-downs and working from home; anxiety of losing work; the stress of home-schooling children; fear of getting sick or spreading the virus unwittingly by being asymptomatic; the sadness of missing important milestones with family…

Sadly, a new year doesn’t mean a new slate when it comes to COVID-19 and its impact on our mental wellbeing.

That’s why I hope decision-makers will embrace practices like laughter yoga to uplift and strengthen outlook. That’s why I hope neighbourhood laughter clubs will be supported to get back and deliver the natural goodness of laughter.

About laughter yoga leader training

That’s why I’m excited to be back offering in-person laughter yoga leader training again (the minimum training requirement for laughter clubs in Australia). My first certified laughter yoga leader workshop for 2021 was on Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 January in Brisbane. Registrations are open now. New dates are available.

Laughter yoga leader training is an action-packed content-rich program, as one past participant described it, that comes to fruition through doing.

It’s two full days of philosophy, science and most importantly activity – learning the techniques and learning how to deliver sessions. 

Who does laughter yoga leader training

Past participants have included:

  • teachers
  • psychologists
  • aged care workers
  • mental health workers
  • disability support workers
  • nurses
  • and ‘just’ people wanting to bring more joyfulness into their lives and those of people around them.

(Note: laughter yoga is not a cure all and certainly not a replacement for diagnosed mental illness however it can be viewed as a supplement. That’s why doctors and allied health practitioners often ‘socially prescribe’ laughter yoga.)

Many do the training to add a new well-being tool that’s readily accessible. Some deliver in their workplaces. A few choose to ‘giveback’ to community and set up a ‘laughter club‘.

2020 was the year of the pandemic. Embracing laughter yoga leader training and all that it offers is a means of boosting your mental wellbeing, and supporting others—your family, friends, neighbourhood or colleagues in your workplace, school or aged care centre.

Let’s hope that joyful laughter goes viral in 2021!

(c) 2020 HeatherJoy Campbell

HeatherJoy Campbell is a certified laughter yoga teacher/trainer and global ambassador of Laughter Yoga International. Based in Brisbane, Australia, she delivers professionally facilitated laughter well-being sessions for workplaces, aged care and communities, in-person and online, combining the regimen of laughter yoga with science of happiness and mindfulness techniques. HeatherJoy also hosts The Gap Laughter Club.