Our precious innate gift
We are born with a natural ability to breathe, laugh and feel emotions. As children we can laugh countless number of times a day! However with age, our laughter not only becomes more conditional but we tend to let our mind decide if we think it is funny or even appropriate before we laugh.
Laughter is our easily accessible sense of wellbeing. The fun starts with our smile from about two months of age, turning it gradually from giggles to laughing freely countless hundreds of times at almost every opportunity. It flourishes further when playfully interacting and building rapport with others at various stage of our lives. We probably feel its pleasurable and calming effects promoting our sense of safety and feeling of togetherness. Its infectious and addictive nature also reflects on our physical, emotional and spiritual levels, impacting and bridging our personal and social development. We tend to use it to socialise, boost/retrieve our confidence, in team playing and bonding, in building and strengthening relationships and in the way we lovingly show our affection and understanding.
Sometimes, some people may have lost its magic along the way, for others it could be a reminder of a painful and humiliating memory. Ironically however, many publicly available research promotes the ideas of how laughter may also be helpful in de-escalating negative emotional experience and promote our social bonding as a positive sensation to overcome stress and depression, impacting on our mental health and mood. With its ability to trigger the release of endorphins, it further promotes our sense of wellbeing and help improve the quality of our life life by helping to lift our mood, lower stress, combat depression and anxiety, tune our immune system, enhance our blood circulation and heighten our pain tolerance levels. Its health benefits also includes improvement with chronic skeletal muscular pain, mood and heart rate of patients awaiting organ transplants, dialysis and elderly people to name but a few.
In 1990s Dr Kataria wanted to find a way of spreading the numerous benefits of laughter to his patients and all who needed it. He understood that though our mind can differentiate between the real and simulated laughter, our body can be made to believe that any movement replicating laughter is a real thing. That would then signal the brain to release endorphins helping us feel more alive and energetic. Hence it led led the way to his brainchild, Laughter Yoga.
Play is spontaneous and happens in the very now moment just like life, making it a vital part of our wellbeing throughout our life. It nourishes our development, sparks our imagination and challenges us to explore new ways of thinking. By definition it means to engage in activity of enjoyment and recreation rather than serious or practical purpose - just imagine its ripple affects if we can learn to apply this concept to our daily life! As children, we experienced its therapeutic effects and its communicative strengths which is the very reason why we should make a point of carrying it forward into the rest of our life too.
Dr Stuart Brown from the National Institute for Play, quotes “play seems to be one of the most advanced methods nature has invented to allow a complex brain to create itself and engage fully with the world. Its what makes life lively”. Late Joan Erikson (1902-1997) who was a dancer, choreographer, jeweller, poet, teacher, writer and researcher emphasised "play reminds us that life is full of choices and that it is up to us to make a choice”. She defined play as something we do in a lighthearted way because we find it amusing and enhancing and where we would find ourself doing it (play) even if we do not have time for it. She said we are surrounded with play in its many forms and ways, including playing with an idea for example without predicting the potential response in a conversation. It’s what keeps us wandering in the moment and where we tend to almost seek for the surprise to enhance the result(s). While Scott G Eberle, Ph.D, suggests we don’t lose the need for novelty and pleasure as we grow.
Another research into couples showed that people who make skilful use of positive emotions like laughter when dealing with stressful and unpleasant conversations/situations, not only feel better but they also tend to be happier and stay together longer. A fitting example here would be of one of India’s wedding rituals that insist the newly weds start their very first marital stage of life with a game called “Koda Kodi" (played soon after taking their wedding vows). This fun competitive game allows the couple to have three chances in trying to find the gold ring (that the priest or another acting referee would roll into the red coloured water) in order to determine the “ruler” - symbolising the importance of voluntary playfulness in married life to help tackle changes and challenges in life.
Emotion is our energy in motion that helps alert us (like GPS) in the form of feelings and raising our awareness with signals and triggers. It helps point our attention towards our emotional response process affecting our mental health and emotional wellbeing. It’s a way for our body to communicate with us. According to Dr Joe Dispenza, we just need to be consciously tuned in to understand and appreciate the particular emotional energy being produced and distributed in our body at the time. The negative emotions have been known to adversely affect our health whereas, the potential health benefits of the positive emotions suggest them to be the key factor in sustaining or even improving our health.
Mindful rhythmic breathing technique helps draw our focus towards calm, prompting us to remain as relaxed as possible to help balance our emotional energy (including stress), that may otherwise hinder our performance/reaction/result. Developing and practising our awareness of breathing techniques helps nourish our vitality (life force) and may also help establish our core inner strength and our sense of safety to discover our innate potentials. Breathing is the source of life that sustains us and helps provide energy for everything we do.
To discuss how Laughter Therapy can be implemented within your workplace as a wellbeing program please contact us on Mob: 07736158352 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message on our contact form and we will get back to you