Laughter is considered to be one of the best natural ways to relieve yourself from stress and anxiety. When you laugh, you produce not only a positive mental state for yourself but also get better on a biological level. Many scientists have known about the positive effects of laughter for a long time and they’ve always been encouraging patients to indulge in laughter as often as they can.
However, only rather recently have scientists and yoga specialists found out that involuntary laughter is not the only way to go in terms of getting rid of stress and anxiety. Laughter exercises are also a great way to get the same benefits as you get from involuntary laughter. Laughter is laughter, in the end, and it apparently doesn’t matter if you start laughing because of something really funny you saw or heard, or you get yourself laughing voluntary just because you want to laugh and you can, you will get the same result in your body and your mind.
One of the interesting things you’ll have found out about voluntary laughing is the positive side effects you’ll encounter once you start. Cardio and vascular health benefits from this kind of therapy have been confirmed by many scientists and physicians throughout the world. Psychologists and psychiatrists have stated that laughing (regardless if triggered by something funny or just by voluntary laughing) is good for brightening the mood and even shows great results with patients who suffer from depression and anxiety.
Other benefits of laughter therapy is pain thresholds, which become much higher once the patient is subjected to laughter. Laughter produces an “endorphin opiate effect” that gives us a temporary high and thus lifts our mood and elevates our pain threshold.
Another benefit of this effect is its role in socialization, which means that if you’re laughing and can bring others to do the same, you’ll be much more likely accepted into a group of people.
How to do it
Well, you start laughing. That’s really it. There is no great secret behind it. You don’t need any assistance from anyone. However, many people who are indulging in this kind of therapy do it in groups. Many believe that groups make the whole process much easier.
If you’re in a laughter therapy group, everyone there is concentrated on that one thing: getting the giggles. The mere premise of people with this motive coming together can cause laughter by many participants. The seriousness of the whole situation of getting into a room to laugh is funny enough that many people instinctively start giggling before the therapy even starts.
Of course, groups are just one way of getting into the mood for laughter. If you don’t feel comfortable doing these exercises in front of other people, you can always start by doing it by yourself at home. If you have the room and the space in your apartment (and no neighbors that would be disturbed by you laughing your lungs out) then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t start your laughter therapy right now.
Benefits of group laughter therapy
What’s the matter? Have you tried laughing yet? No? Why not? You feel a bit silly, don’t you? Well, that’s one of the downsides in doing this kind of thing alone. People in groups can make each other laugh just by mere eye contact. You’ve all experienced it before. Especially in places where it was highly inappropriate to laugh. At funerals or in church, all you need is to establish eye contact with one person and the shenanigans begin. You just can’t help yourself giggling. You try to suppress it but, while doing so, it only gets more and more uncontrollable, doesn’t it?
The reasons for this are the whole context of where you are (funeral, church, classroom, etc.). This makes you aware of the laughing as something that simply doesn’t fly, and thus it makes laughing so much more appealing. Secondly, human eye contact is, most of the time, rather silly.
Ask a professional journalist what it’s like to look someone in the eyes the whole time while interviewing someone. Ask them how they do it. If you don’t know any journalists, I’ll tell you: they don’t do it at all. Rather than looking someone into the eyes, they fixate their look on the person’s forehead. That way, the eye contact and possible laughter is evaded, but the person they're talking to still thinks the journalist is looking them in the eyes while speaking.
Group therapy, on the other hand, uses this awkwardness of eye contact to enhance the laughter among their exercise participants. Once people start looking at each other in the eye, the laughter usually starts (especially if the people we’re talking about here are coming together to do exactly that).
Funny noises can help, too
Sometimes even groups need motivation. Sometimes the mood of a group can be so low that there is no chance of getting laughter out of anyone. This is why funny noises can be used as a kind of motivation for this particular scenario. Here at CrazyGiggles.US you can learn about our small collection of very funny laughter sound that can be used in laughter therapy sessions.
Other stimulants can be funny things you sense with your vision, but it’s proven that funny noises are much more universal. This means that funny noises are much more often seen as funny by different groups of people, while funny images can be much more likely interpreted as being not funny or hilarious by others. That’s why funny noises are great for group therapy as they are viewed by many as universally funny.
Besides funny noises, hearing someone laugh can be very simulating as well. People often say laughter is contagious, and that’s very true. Our Crazy Giggles audio album offers a great array of tracks of people laughing, so you can try this method out in order to get yourself or your group laughing.
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Laugh Yourself Silly! It's Good for You!