“ Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”
Laughter Events and Workshops
Robin and Paul are able to offer laughter events to supplement Joyful Workplaces activities, or as discrete workshops. Please contact us to discuss possibilities.
The Benefits of Laughter
Laughter based activities can build connections between people. We can encourage appropriate playfulness where we laugh together, bring us into the present moment, help us to learn, and physiologically change us to feel happier and less stressed. Since laughter is largely a social interaction, we can increase our self confidence through expressing our laughter in front of other people. And if we observe what our laughter means, we can increase awareness and understanding of ourselves and others.There are new skills and coping mechanisms to learn for dealing with stress and difficult situations using laughter. These skills can enable us to tackle stigma, isolation and other issues.
University Research has been carried out into therapeutic laughter for over 40 years. Key early players were William Fry and Lee Berk. Fry researched many aspects of laughter for good physical and mental health, including laughter as an alternative to violence for dealing with stress. Berk’s work shows that the immune system is boosted by laughter and also that even just the anticipation of laughter releases endorphins. Michael Miller in the UK showed that laughter helps the circulatory system. And Norman Cousins’ book showed how he used laughter as a tool to deal with his illness. In the field of Laughter Coaching, Dr. Annette Goodheart was the pioneer. Dr. Madan Kataria, a GP from Mumbai, started Laughter Yoga and the Laughter Club movement in 1995. The Laughter Club can be thought of as exercise class, where you don’t realise it is exercise since you are enjoying yourself and laughing so much. Now it has spread to 73 countries: it embraces the principle that when our body laughs, even if we are just pretending, we still bring about physiological changes.
http://laughteryoga.org reports on: Anecdotal evidence for the benefits of Laughter Yoga in rheumatoid arthritis and other painful conditions, for easing pregnancy and birth, and for positive thinking. A study in Bangalore of 200 people having Laughter Yoga sessions every 2-3 days over an 18 day period showed reduced resting blood pressure, lower levels of cortisol and perceived stress, and an increase of positive emotions! Dr. Gourie Suraj in South Africa has investigated the biopsychosocial impacts of Laughter Yoga on stroke patients, and found benefits including lowering blood sugar levels.
What is a Laughter Workshop?
It’s a chance to learn and remind ourselves about the importance of laughter: laughter for happiness, laughter for health, laughter for lowering and managing stress. We can discuss with each other how to get more laughter in our lives and into the lives of the people we care for. We can discuss how laughter doesn’t always mean happy, and find how we can understand our laughter and that of the people we care for. And of course, we can have a good laugh together with some gentle activities which can encourage laughing together and letting go of stresses!
Typically a laughter session could involve:
enjoying laughter with gentle participatory activities where people are encouraged to join in;
activities which involve smaller group discussions (such as how to bring more happiness into our life generally);
activities which help to understand the importance of laughter, with explanations of the physiological benefits;
understanding what laughter means, both our own laughter and other people's;
learning and practising how we can use laughter to help manage stress and improve well being.
We laugh together. No one is picked on! People are encouraged to participate but don’t have to, and the activities we do just generally bring up laughter amongst us. This is suitable for people of all ages, is very gentle and a pleasant way to spend time together, and what we do depends on what the group wants. There is lots of scope for interesting and enjoyable and educational workshops.