Monday, September 23, 2013

Learning to Let Go and Laugh

If you were a relatively happy kid (I was), you probably enjoyed many deep belly laughs (I did). You can remember times when giggle-fits had you and a friend collapsing into puddle-like pools, limp from laughter exhaustion for reasons you can no longer remember. (I sure did.)

This hardly ever happens to grown ups, even though we know for sure that it is quite beneficial. Really. It's scientific. But, like exercise, everybody knows it's good for them, but few do it with any regularity. Adults rarely let themselves be so out of control as to give in to such hysterical guffaws and giggle-fits that they actually double over with laughter or fall out of their chairs, let alone happily collapse.


Deep belly laughter--in fact, even gentle giggling and chuckling-- can release a tsunami of hormones and neurotransmitters that bathe your brain and circulate throughout your body. These wonderful chemicals throw switches in every system of the body to turn on to healthy functioning.



That's how mirthful laughter reduces and reverses stress-related chemistry, helps muscles relax, opens arteries to make it easier for blood to flow to the heart, helps digestion, and helps your immune system to work more efficiently.


These effects begin as soon as you experience mirthfulness, whenever you truly feel tickled by something, or are genuinely amused. And, if you can manage to laugh for as little as a  minute (more is better), the effects can last for 24-48 hours, or until you get aggravated or stressed, whichever comes first.

But wait! There’s hope! Act Now!

If you have been to a modern laughter club or laughter circle, you have already learned this. But if there are none close by, these guidelines will be a big help.

The simplest way:
First you give yourself permission to let go and laugh like crazy.
Then take a nice deep breath, smile, let out the breath and let yourself chuckle.


If you need more step-by-step directions, try this:
1. Sit in a quiet room alone. Plan to stay there for about 10 minutes. Loosen your belt. take off your shoes.
2. Loosen any other tight clothing so that you will not feel restrained. Be sure to take off your tie.
3. Think of a funny joke or a ridiculous event in your life.
4. Take a nice deep breath, smile, let out the breath and let yourself chuckle.
5. Do it again.
6. Again.
7. Typically, by the third try you will be able to begin to laugh out loud.
8. Now, see if you can do it and laugh for at least 30 seconds.
9. If this is difficult for you, plan to do it with a friend. This approach is usually effective because both people give permission to each other to be silly.
10. If you are embarrassed when you first start, you may want to close your eyes. This will make everyone else disappear so that you can be more spontaneous.
11. For more assistance you may want to play a tape of people laughing or watch comedy movies for your planned laughter times. You may also find it easy to laugh if you look at yourself for a long time in a mirror.

RESOURCES TO HELP YOU FIND YOUR INNER LAUGHTER

“Laughing To The Future” - YouTube TEDx presentation
Hugh McClelland is a Television Producer and Project Manager who has been a Certified Laughter Leader and Laughter Yoga Instructor since 2004. He has organized laughter training sessions and led laughter sessions for government departments, corporate sales teams, hospital care staff, cancer survivors, personal development
groups, and palliative care staff.


"Finding Your Inner Laughter" - Audio CD
Certified Laughter Leader Carol Hubert uses her calming energy along with music, drumming, and guided imagery to lead the audience to laughter without jokes. This 90-minute audio recording of a live program guides you through all of the elements of a laughter session. You can experience the benefits of laughter exercises, relaxing, freeing up your mind, learning the six steps of Good-Hearted Living, and having fun. Listen and do the session along with the 600 people who were in the audience.

"How to Create Therapeutic Laughter" actually has wide-ranging applications for business, healthcare, and education. It encompasses all of the positive emotions for health, happiness, and productivity. It goes beyond the power of laughter to include a variety of Positive Activity Intervention activities, and the role of attitudes and emotions in health, healing and 'flourishing'. Anyone who might like more laughter in their live, or like to lead others in laughter therapy can do so by completing the course  either in a 2-day workshop or through convenient home study, or both. It's all included. 

Take advantage of the fact that laughter is contagious by laughing along with recorded laughter.

Laughter Unlimited By Janet Lifshin
This is the most popular laughter recording of the past 6 years. A great value. You get 30 continuous minutes of the most contagious, infectious laughter you will ever hear. Produced by Vanessa Vendola and Certified Laughter Leader Janet Lifshin, this audio CD is a laughter classic.
LAUGHTER MEDITATION By Pragito Dove
A practical tool for therapeutic laughter and personal growth. Pragito Dove makes this experience accessible, practical, and powerful. A transformative healing process that enhances love, gracefulness, flexibility, and enjoyment in your life. E experience your sense of playfulness and fun with the Laughter Meditation. Pragito guides the listener through a complete meditation that induces feelings of harmony and well-being. From the author of Lunchtime Enlightenment.

"Laughing Celebration" By Sarito Sun
With more than 20 years as a Meditation Expert and Hypnotherapist, Sarito Sun is dedicated to helping people individually and in groups. Sarito believes that laughter, joy, and meditation are three of the most powerful ways to shower the world with peace, health, and prosperity. Starting in the 1970's, Sarito has worked with people from all walks of life, including renowned authors and spiritual leaders. In her own personal search, she has explored modern methods as well as powerful ancient techniques for awareness and meditation. Sarito provides group sessions for businesses and organizations, including the Chopra Center in La Costa, CA. She also teaches at Churches in the San Diego-LA area. 


Please share this blog with anyone who might like to laugh more.

2 comments:

  1. Nice post Steve. We could sure use more "laugh--a--tude" in this "latitude". My new saying.....Donna Marie Laino, Philadelphia Tiger

    ReplyDelete