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Meditation through laughter

Laughter yoga facilitator Heather Joy Campbell stretches and laughs sitting on rocks in front of the ocean in sunset

I confess. For years and years, I found meditation hard work.

I just couldn’t ‘switch off’ or be still. I was heavily focused on this assumed need to stop all thoughts yet ‘Radio Heather’ was playing my Top 10 Self-Deprecating Put-downs and the harder I tried, the more insistent the thoughts would be until I got frustrated and gave up.

Or I’d make myself comfortable and breathe slowly and deeply and get bored after 10 minutes.

I was familiar with meditation’s many benefits—controlling anxiety, reducing stress, promoting emotional health, lengthening attention span— but I had so much to do! In fact I could relate to the most common reasons not to meditate until I started doing laughter yoga.

 You see, I thought meditation was all OMMMMMMMM when it can be hoho-hahaha!

Laughter sets off brain wave patterns quite similar to those generated when experienced meditators ply their mindfulness skills.

Dr Lee Berk from Loma Linda University found full hearty joyous laughter produces similar gamma waves as though in a meditative state.

Plus dopamine, the body’s very own gold star reward system, flows freely when gamma waves reign.

While Dr Berk gives humour the tick of approval, humour is personal—what is funny for one person may not be to another. 

When I’m in full laughter yoga mode, I am in the zone. Any worries I may have had are banished for the time I’m ‘laughing’. They’re also likely to have diminished in their scale of seriousness. I breathe more easily and deeply. I feel relaxed. My husband says I ‘glow’! 

Laughter yoga harnesses a playful spirit through a set of simulated laughter exercises and slow deep breaths to deliver wellbeing.  Nowadays I turn to laughter yoga as a daily stressbuster (and more), practising both in a group and alone, laughing out loud or silently, depending on the situation. 

If you struggle to meditate and seek a naturally healthy way of dealing with stress, anxiety or depression, try laughter yoga. You may yourself laughing your way to a relaxed, uplifted, joyful state of being.

Look for a laughter club near you in Queensland or elsewhere in Australia. For overseas laughter yoga hubs, check Laughter Yoga International.

(c) Heather Joy Campbell 2019

Founder of The Happydemic, Heather Joy Campbell is a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, living in Brisbane, Australia. Seeking to spread wellbeing through laughter, seriously, Heather Joy runs workplace and organisational workshops and seminars on laughter for wellbeing, trains laughter yoga leaders, and, as a community giveback, runs a weekly suburban laughter club.