All about laughter therapy
Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. Victor Hugo
According to the Humour Foundation, Monday, 1 April 2013 was National Smile Day. National Smile Day is the annual fundraising day to raise awareness and support for Clown Doctors in the local community. Did you miss it? It’s not too late to show your support and participate – the entire month of April marks Smile Month at Clown Doctors and Commonwealth Bank.
From October, there will be an increase in Clown Doctors visiting children in hospital around Australia – with the aim of reaching 10,000 more children each year. Clown Doctors currently visit 21 hospitals around the country drawing with them the inspiration that laughter is still the best medicine.
More information about the Humour Foundation’s Smile Month is available here.
To celebrate Smile Month, Happiness Weekly is looking into laughter therapy and how it can help you!
Laughing is the simplest, easiest and cheapest stress management there is. In fact, all humans, apes, and surprisingly dogs and rats, have the ability to laugh from birth. As the name suggests, laughter therapy is about laughing to get a particular result – usually to make us feel better in some way, but it can also relieve pain, reduce blood pressure and decrease stress.
There are various types of laughter therapy including laughter yoga (laughing out loud until it does become funny), laughter groups (sharing jokes, funny props, watching humorous videos), and Clown Doctors (who visit sick children in hospital). Generally one type of laughter therapy will appeal more than the others depending on your condition and circumstances.
When laughter is spontaneous and in response to something we think is funny, we get a better result than if it is forced. Understanding a joke increases happy hormones and endorphins, but it also lifts a weight off the brain. Having said that, it doesn’t matter how or why you laugh, because the mind responds in the same way – whether it’s real or fake. Having a bad day? Stand in front of the mirror and smile at yourself – eventually you will feel better.
Laughter Yoga Groups involved a group of people coming together to make the noise of laughter until it generates its own hilarity. The sessions include breathing, ho-ho-hoing and producing different laughs (with bizzare names such as: one metre, silent, cocktail and lion). Although it can be intimidating to start, laughing in a group is contagious.
Laughter groups are slightly more difficult to find but can help with pain management and weight loss. It encourages participants to take part using funny toys, props, jokes and fancy clothes. By attending a laughter group you will learn to laugh at yourself more easily and to treat life less seriously as a way to reduce stress.
Clown Doctors are recognised as the most important and useful form of laughter therapy. Sick children in hospital are “treated” with “doses of fun” to help them deal with laughter, fear, pain and anxiety. Clown Doctors have professional training within the Humour Foundation to offer high level skills in the midst of serious hospitals and illness, often making frightening hospital equipment and procedures into a parody.
Laughter is a great workout as it uses most of your body – including the heart and lungs. It breaks down barriers, makes you feel relaxed and encourages positive communication and enables smoother problem solving.
Without being crude, what is the funniest joke you know?