Want to Add More Laughter to Your Life?
When bringing LY Workshops into high-stress environments and workplaces, some of the areas that participants find the most substantial benefits are: stress management, improved productivity, team building, communication skills, positive work environment and increased employee moral, , lower cortisol levels (stress hormones), increased endorphines, strengthened self confidence and leadership and greater concentration in the daytime and deeper sleep in the evening.
In addition to the scientific and health benefits, participants often say that after practicing Laughter Yoga, they find themselves laughing more readily and easily throughout their day. They also report feeling an increased ability to laugh and cope with challenging events as they arise in their lives, and to approach them with a more light-hearted attitude. Evolution has given us the wonderful gift of laughter, and with LY workshops we’re able to cash in on it’s benefits in our most stressful environments and experiences (and whenever we feel we could use it most).
⇨ To schedule a Laughter Yoga workshop for your workforce, department team or other high-stress setting, you may contact me using this handy form or directly at 617.529.0090 or info (at) livetolaugh (dot) org.
Stress relief from laughter? “Yes, no joke.” says the Mayo Clinic
“When it comes to relieving stress, more giggles and guffaws are just what the doctor ordered. Here’s why.
Whether you’re guiltily guffawing at an episode of “South Park” or quietly giggling at the latest New Yorker cartoon, laughing does you good. Laughter is a great form of stress relief, and that’s no joke.
Stress relief from laughter
A good sense of humor can’t cure all ailments, but data are mounting about the positive things laughter can do.
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Long-term effects. Laughter isn’t just a quick pick-me-up, though. It’s also good for you over the long haul. Laughter may:
- Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can impact your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
- Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers. Laughter may also break the pain-spasm cycle common to some muscle disorders.
- Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.” (Full article at the Mayo Clinic)
Neuroendocrine and Stress Hormone Changes During Mirthful Laughter
“Positive emotional activities have been suggested as modifiers of neuroendocrine hormones involved in the classical stress response. To detect changes in these components during a mirthful laughter experience, the authors studied 10 healthy male subjects. Five experimental subjects viewed a 60 minute humor video and five control subjects did not. Serial blood samples were measured for corticotropin (ACTH), cortisol, beta-endorphin, 3,4-dihydrophenylacetic acid (dopac)–the major serum neuronal catabolite of dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, growth hormone, and prolactin.
Repeated measures analysis of variance showed that cortisol and dopac in the experimental group decreased more rapidly from baseline than the control group (p = 0.011, p = 0.025, respectively). Epinephrine levels in the experimental group were significantly lower than the control at all time points (p = 0.017). Growth hormone levels in the experimental group significantly increased during baseline (p = 0.027) and then decreased with laughter intervention (p less than 0.0005), whereas, the controls did not change over time (p = 0.787). ACTH, beta-endorphin, prolactin, and norepinephrine levels did not significantly increase. The mirthful laughter experience appears to reduce serum levels of cortisol, dopac, epinephrine, and growth hormone. These biochemical changes have implications for the reversal of the neuroendocrine and classical stress hormone response.” (Full article at the U.S. National Library of Medicine)
Laughter is Best Medicine for Your Heart
“Laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you against a heart attack, according to a recent study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. The study, which is the first to indicate that laughter may help prevent heart disease, found that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.
“The old saying that ‘laughter is the best medicine,’ definitely appears to be true when it comes to protecting your heart,” says Michael Miller, M.D., director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and a professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “We don’t know yet why laughing protects the heart, but we know that mental stress is associated with impairment of the endothelium, the protective barrier lining our blood vessels. This can cause a series of inflammatory reactions that lead to fat and cholesterol build-up in the coronary arteries and ultimately to a heart attack.” (Full article at University of Maryland Medical Center)
Manage Stress with Laughter
Is there a science behind laughter therapy? Yes, there certainly is. In fact, laughter techniques have been used for thousands of years in Eastern countries, in particular India.
What is Psycho-neuroimmunology?
“Psycho” refers to how our minds process information, “neuro” refers to how the nervous system reacts to this though process, and “immunology” refers to how our immune system responds to the marriage of thought and emotion or feelings.
Very simply put, when you have a thought coupled with an emotion or feeling, your body automatically produces chemicals and hormones. You will either produce immune-enhancing and stress-relieving hormones, or you will produce ones that increase your heart rate, tighten muscles, restrict blood flow and break your immune system down.
Researchers are now saying laughter can bring balance to all the components of the immune system. Laughter reduces levels of certain stress hormones. It provides a safety valve that shuts off the flow of stress hormones and the fight-or-flight compounds that swing into action in our bodies when we experience stress, anger or hostility. These stress hormones suppress the immune system, increase the number of blood platelets (which can cause obstructions in arteries) and raise blood pressure.
When we’re laughing, natural killer cells that destroy tumors and viruses increase, as do Gamma-interferon (a disease-fighting protein), T-cells, which are a major part of the immune response, and B-cells, which make disease-destroying antibodies. The adrenal glands produce two primary hormones, DHEA and cortisol. Both are considered the major shock absorber hormones in the body. They buffer us to stress and the negative impact it can have on both mental and physical function.
Long-term stress can have a serious impact on the adrenal glands and cause them to shrink and reduce production. This causes cellular damage, which sets off a chain reaction affecting all parts of the body, as well as accelerating the aging process.
Laughter also increases the concentration of a natural antibody, IGA, in the salivary glands (immunoglobulin A), that defends against infectious organisms entering through the respiratory tract.
“What may surprise you even more is the fact that researchers estimate that laughing 100 times is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine or 15 minutes on an exercise bike. Laughing can be a total body workout!”
During laughter, blood pressure is lowered, and there is an increase in vascular blood flow and in oxygenation of the blood, which further assists healing. Laughter also gives your diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg and back muscles a workout. That’s why you often feel exhausted after a long bout of laughter–you have just had an aerobic workout!” (Full article at LiveStrong, Official Partner of the Lance Armstrong Foundation)
⇨ To explore the benefits of Laughter Yoga further, please feel free to check out our Interesting Articles, Videos and Benefits pages. I look forward to helping you bring more laughter into your life soon! Drop me a line to book a workshop anytime.