What do you do when you’re ‘not in the mood’ for something? Avoid it or do it anyway?
Laughter yoga is a brilliant case study for getting on with it.
When I turn up at meetings as guest speaker or at a group laughter session, I’m often met by people who’ll tell me they’re “not in the mood” for laughter.
And I answer that with “Great! Let’s get to work”.
Because (almost always) those same people leave the session looking radiant and uplifted.
What happened to them?
They reap the benefits that have hundreds of thousands of people in more than 100 nations worldwide turning up for daily or weekly laughter club sessions.
One of the many beautiful advantages of laughter yoga is that you do not need to be ‘in the mood’ to laugh. You can feel blue or down. You may even have depression. You may be tired. You can be full of worries. You may be shy. Life may suck… None of that has anything to do with stopping you from doing laughter yoga – if you are willing.
(There are reasons for not taking part. These are called contraindications and they include: – hernia, heart problems with chest pain, major surgery in the past 3 months, epilepsy, high blood pressure not controlled by medication, severe backache such as a prolapsed slipped disc, bleeding haemorrhoids or an acute illness such as flu. Think of laughter yoga as you would any aerobic exercise and if in doubt about a physical condition, see a doctor first.)
Laughter yoga is a unique exercise routine combining laughter, initiated as a physical exercise, and yoga breaths, carried out in a group maintaining eye contact. Before long, the laughter catches and becomes ‘real’. Even if it doesn’t – as long as you participate willingly (not grudgingly) – you will benefit because the brain doesn’t discern between ‘fake’ and ‘real’ laughter, it simply notes that the person is laughing and that is the cue to release a flow of feel-good chemicals.
There’s another element at play here too, one clinical psychologists are familiar with: the two-way link between motion and emotion, body and mind. Whatever happens to the mind happens to the body, and what happens to the body happens to the mind. If you feel down and decide to slump in a chair or pull the doona over your head, you are likely to stay ‘down’ – sluggish. My mother never tolerated ‘the blues’ and would say “Pull your socks up, step out and get on with the day”. No chance to hibernate under the doona in our house! And she was spot-on. Being active in the world – facing the day – can lead to changes in mood through motion (those hormones at play again) as well as increasing the likelihood of social interaction which may be just what we need (even if we thought it was the last thing in the world we wanted!).
Laughter yoga synchronises body and mind.
Want to talk about organising a session for a group? Contact me. Better still let’s move and laugh!!
(c) 2018 Heather Joy Campbell
The Happydemic’s founder Heather Joy Campbell is a certified Laughter Yoga teacher and global ambassador for Laughter Yoga International. Brisbane-based, she facilitates laughter wellbeing sessions in workplaces, aged care centres and communities throughout Queensland, trains laughter leaders and leads a weekly community-based laughter club.