Research indicates that South Africa has the most stressed out citizen’s in the world. This may be understandable if you consider the negativity our country is flooded with on a daily basis, but then there is the flip side of the coin. A freely available antidote – Laughter.
Over 12 000 illnesses are linked to oxygen deficiency in the body. Why do we experience a lack of oxygen when we are constantly breathing? Because our normal breathing only fills about 25% of our lungs, the remaining 75% remains filled with stagnant air, which is continuously recycled around the body. It is only with deep breathing that we are able to force the stale air out of our lungs and fill them with fresh oxygen.
Deep breathing can be done in various ways; however it usually takes a lot of time and concentration. Enter laughter.
Laughter is the most effective, cost efficient form of exercise we can do. It needs no props (no not even a comedian) and can be done anywhere, any time. Studies have shown that an hour of yoga, pilates, aerobics, etc has the exact same effect on the body as an hour of good laughter – all the benefits without the pain.
Research is proving that laughter is a great way to create a balance in our lives – emotionally, socially, mentally, physically and spiritually. Here’s how:
- Emotionally: Choosing to laugh shifts our perspective, breaking the cycle of negativity and improves one’s mood, leaving stressful events less disturbing and easier to deal with.
- Socially: Laughter connects people in a way that even humor cannot. This is simply because laughter is all inclusive whereas humor is often only relevant to specific groups of people. Laughter connects people triggering positive feelings and fostering emotional connections.
- Mentally: Laughter stimulates both hemispheres of the brain, encouraging clarity and better problem solving skills.
- Physically: Laughter is a natural anti-depressant, has the ability to strengthen all immune functions, tone the cardiovascular system, exercise the lungs, decrease pain, diffuse stress, release muscle tension, reduce blood pressure, improve digestion, reduce insomnia, reduce headaches colds and flu, and believe it or not, can help prevent the dreaded big C (cancer).
- Spiritually: Laughter aids in developing compassion, altruism, joy and fulfillment.
The simple truth is, while laughter may not, on its own, be able to heal anything, it can certainly help heal everything.
So what if you don’t feel like laughing? That’s okay too. The unconscious mind does not differentiate between spontaneous laughter and simulated laughter. Either will be equally effective, and it is mostly found that simulated laughter will turn into spontaneous laughter anyway, especially if you are laughing in a group. Why? Because laughter is contagious. It is 33 times easier to laugh in a group than on your own.
This is a brilliant reason to come and join 1 of our weekly laughter wellness sessions. For set workshops please take a look at our calendar, alternatively use the contact page and drop me an email.