It’s true that a good sense of humor can’t heal all illnesses, but data is mounting about the physical and mental benefits of laughter. There are immense short-term benefits of good laughter. Reliving anxiety is one of them.
Laughter reduces the secretion of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol and triggers release of endorphins and oxytocin. It stimulates the feeling of caring, forgiveness, and love, which overpowers the sad feeling of anxiety. Laughter elevates the free flow of emotions, hence dislodges blocked emotions, unresolved conflicts stored in the bottom of the unconscious mind. The release of blocked emotions and unresolved conflicts liberates the mind from unwanted emotions. Laughter is a wonderful non-violent method for emotional release and catharsis. It soothes the soul, works as a natural antidote for anxiety, stress, and depression
In yoga, there is a practice called Hasyayoga or laughter yoga, which involves prolonged voluntary laughter. This practice is based on the principle that forced laughter provides the same physical and mental benefits as spontaneous laughter. When this exercise is done in groups, maintaining eye contact, it soon becomes contagious and turns into real laughter.
This laughing exercise is about letting go all your inhibitions and laugh like a child.
It is a wonderful way to let go all the negative emotions and feel rejuvenated.
You can practice laughter yoga alone.
You can also find a partner or join a laughter yoga club or class in your area.
To do this exercise, start by clapping with your hands parallel to each other; it will increase your energy level by stimulating different acupressure points located in your hands.
Move around with clapping your hands with a 1-2-3 rhythm; you may move your hands up and down and swinging them from side to side as you clap. If you are practicing alone, you can do the warm-ups in front of the mirror.
There are different ways to perform warm-ups, you can clap hands, talk gibberish or swindle the tongue. Start quietly, and then increase the volume, as you get comfortable. Lion laughter is also a good warm-up. To do it correctly, open your mouth and stick your tongue out fully; stretch your hands out like the paws of a lion. Make a roaring sound; then laugh from your belly.
Now in rhythm with your hands, say your first chant, “ho ho, ha-ha-ha” while breathing in and out deeply from your belly. You may continue clapping and chanting as you move around in a room in a circle.
Increase the volume of your laughter, as you get more comfortable.
Instructors can use different techniques to make this exercise more fruitful like greeting laughter technique, where the participants walk around the room to greet each other with laugh; or argument laughter where the participants are divided into two groups, then look at each other, point at each other and laugh louder at each other with belly laughs. The participants can laugh with holding hands or hugging each other. Gradually the laughter winds down, and the practitioners enter into a state of deep relaxation.
Maintain a sense of childlike playfulness as you practice laughter yoga. Laugh on a daily basis, ideally, in the morning, teach your body and mind to laugh on command. You may find it little difficult and feel discouraged in the beginning, keep up your practice, and soon you will start to enjoy it.