Laughter is not just good if you can get it. Laughter is incredibly helpful in building resilience. It releases dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins, and also works on our heart, our lungs, our muscles, our thoughts, our behaviors. It helps with fibromyalgia. It helps with insomnia. Laughter is pretty good medicine.
The amazing thing about laughter is you don’t even have to really have something funny to laugh at. We can actually induce laughter as an experience. The body will still release the same endorphins.
Try this laughter yoga exercise to discover a foolproof way to induce laughter. It is based on the Hawaiian word “Aloha,” a nice vowel-y word that opens the mouth and throat just by saying it.
Laughter Yoga: A Gentle Movement Practice to Get the Giggles Going
12 Minute Meditation: A Laughter Yoga Practice to Get the Giggles Going with Elaine Smookler
- First, let your chin drop toward your chest and your head hang heavy. Let your upper body follow and drop comfortably. Move in whatever way is manageable for you. Please don’t do more than you can.
- Next, focus on the vocal part of the exercise. The body moves downward vertebrae by vertebrae, and you can let yourself just hang. Then, when you’re ready, begin to come up to an upright position. Repeat the vocal exercise: Ah-loooooooooooooooo-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Ah-loooooooooooooooo-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Ah-loooooooooooooooo-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.
- Repeat this a few more times. Repeat the vocal exercise: Ah-loooooooooooooooo-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Ah-loooooooooooooooo-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Ah-loooooooooooooooo-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Ah-loooooooooooooooo-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.
- Finally, check in with yourself. What did you notice? Maybe you’re feeling like, I ain’t doing that again. Dig in to how you feel now? Did the practice in fact, even if you’re a very serious person, offer you an uplift in your mood. Do you feel a little bit of juice or joy that wasn’t there before? Sometimes inducing something as basic as laughter can be so helpful (especially if you want to freak your colleagues out).
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