Laughter is a contagious emotion. Laughter is also a natural medicine that has capacity to bring people together, break down barriers, and make us feel happy. But did you know it has a positive impact on one’s overall sense of wellness, physical and mental health? Laughter Therapy, also known as Humor Therapy, falls under the umbrella of Wellness Counseling, which is a holistic treatment approach that integrates the mind, body, and spirit.
Laughter Therapy utilizes the power of smiles and laughter to relieve physical or emotional stresses. Laughter creates and sustains positive energies for the body, mind, and spirit. Laughter also helps clients develop a more resilient and positive attitude in life. Researchers have been examining the mind-body relationship in regards to the body’s ability to heal and observed that laughter appears to change the brain chemistry.
Laughter Therapy may help balance blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, relax muscles throughout the body, and boost immune functions. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. Laughter improves alertness, memory, and creativity. Laughter Therapy can help clients improve their overall attitude, reduce stress, promote relaxation, improve sleep, strengthen social bonds and relationship and generate a general sense of being. Due to all the benefits laughter therapy offers, many hospitals around the country are utilizing formal and informal laughter therapy programs in their therapeutic treatments.
Laugh It Off
Now that you are familiar with laughter therapy and some of its benefits, let’s try some laughter exercises (source):
- 30 Second Laughter: Laugh non-stop for 30 seconds. You could shrug your shoulders, as if to say, “I don’t know why I am laughing.”
- Gradient Laughter: Smile, then start to giggle, slowly turning those giggles into a laugh. Gradually increase your laughter in tempo and volume.
- Happy Memories Chuckle: Go back in time and find a truly happy memory, typically of a time when you felt safe, loved, surrounded by people you loved, and when you all laughed. Take time to connect with this memory, laughing now as if you were back then. It normally takes 90-120 seconds to start to recreate the associated emotions.
- Humming Laughter Sounds: Laugh as you hum, mouth closed. Play with the pitch, up and down the scale, feeling the vibrations resonate through your body. As you get more adept at feeling the resonation, try and move it deliberately, through your chest, your jaw, your nose, your sinus cavities, your forehead, to the top of your head, and then back down again.
Written by: Ms. Eileen Fernandez-Trinidad, BS, BA
If you are ready to lighten things up in your personal life and relationships, allow Brooklyn Marriage & Family Therapy, PLLC’s professional counseling and life coaching services to help bring you closer to living life more fully. Don’t wait another minute. Contact us today!