Skip to content

How laughter can help make New Year resolutions stick

  • Health

Did you make a New Year resolution for 2022?

We’re two weeks in and for many of us, those best intentions have fallen by the wayside. But don’t despair. You’re not alone. Far from it. Research shows about 80 per cent of people typically have given up on their ‘new year, new me’ plans by now!

We mean well when we make a resolution but they commonly fail because we don’t have enough buy-in.

How laughter yoga helps achieve New Year resolutions

Laughter yoga, the exercise regimen that harnesses laughter as a physical action rather than an intellectual reaction to humour, may actually help. I kid you not. Let’s look at 5 common New Year resolutions and see how that could be.

New Year Resolution #1: Lose Weight/Exercise More

Not a great fan of exercise? Laughter exercises are so much fun, you may not even realise that’s what you are doing. There’s playful movement, clapping , gentle stretching and let’s not forget the act of laughing itself, engaging your abdominal and intercostal muscles (not to forget facial muscles too — I have very well-developed cheeks).

Dr William Fry, considered to be the ‘father of gelotology’ (the science of laughter), found that 20 seconds of intense laughter doubled the heart rate for three to five minutes.

While laughter does burn kilojoules— American research reveals those who laugh heartily burn 20% more kilojoules—you’d have to laugh hard and long to see significant results over a year: 10-15 minutes of laughter daily burns 2.2 kilograms a year. I’m jumping on my bike for results on that front…

New Year Resolution #2: Save Money 

Laughter yoga requires no special clothes or equipment – and social laughter clubs are free or very low cost with no membership fee!  They’re very different to comedy clubs: you will laugh!

Laughter yoga is a process proven to reduce emotional, physical, and mental stress – in minutes! Participants in my online ‘Laughter Playroom’ sessions repeatedly report a greater sense of relaxation/less stress.

New Year Resolution #3: Travel

Even during the height of COVID restrictions and closed borders in 2020 and 2021, laughter yoga enthusiasts were able to go on an ‘instant vacation’: our imagination is boundless.

In my Laughter Playroom online sessions, we surfed in Hawaii, tramped through Borneo jungles, swam with dolphins, attended the Melbourne Cup and walked on the moon. With playful laughter exercises, there’s no stopping our travel.

As more in-person laughter clubs gather, perhaps incorporate ‘visit a laughter club’ in your travel itinerary. Check out how and where, here.

New Year Resolution #4: Sleep Better

Laughter yoga exercises help quieten stress and anxieties, common thieves of a good night’s sleep.

While a laughter yoga session is a mild aerobic workout, it typically ends with some meditation or grounding, locking in a sense of calm, and helping you feel relaxed and restful when it’s time to catch some zzzs.

New Year Resolution #5: Find Balance in Life

The past two years have seen many of us spend more time online for work and play. And there’s such a blurring of lines now. I know my household is not alone in receiving texts or emails or phone calls about work late at night or on weekends.

Yet we need to switch off. All work and no play makes Jackie and Gil dull. Research increasingly points to our interactions with technology and living in a technocentric society increasing a kind of pacemaker within us. As the pace of life increases, we feel our available time decrease and we feel more pressured by time. This ‘sped up’ brain adds to stress.

Through laughter yoga exercises, we relax. We can develop a keen appreciation for little things. We can see the lighter side. We become grounded and grateful. We takes ourselves less seriously. It may be the balance you’re looking for.

Could laughter yoga give you greater resolve to see your good intentions through? We’ve a lot left of 2022: it’s early days and we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, now do we?

Laughter yoga can make SHIFT happen. Help me help you find links to social laughter clubs (online and in-person) or to information about workplace wellness or community wellbeing sessions.

© 2022 Heather Joy Campbell

Heather Joy Campbell is a laughter wellbeing professional based in Brisbane, Australia. A certified laughter yoga teacher who has also pursued science of happiness studies, she’s a global ambassador for Laughter Yoga International.