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Painted Brain | The Mental Health Of Laughter Yoga
We're bridging communities and changing the conversation about mental illness using arts and media.
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Two women laughing together

The Mental Health of Laughter Yoga



What is Laughter Yoga?

Laughter yoga may be a new tool to help with depression and stress.

Laughter yoga was created by an Indian Physician Dr. Madan Kataria in the late 1990s’. After reaching success in India, laughter yoga has been adopted by many other countries. In the United States, laughter yoga is practiced in different settings and various populations.

Laughter yoga is not considered humor. Instead, it is laughter that involves a physical reaction by which facial expression is utilized. Laughter yoga is often done in a group setting and categorized as a form of body exercise. It is presumed that genuine laughter can be greater influenced in groups.

Yogic breathing is involved during the session of laughter yoga and preceded by simulated laughter. The laughter is simulated but quickly evolves into genuine laughter by participants of the groups.A man laughing in the sun

There have been few studies that validate laughter as a form of alternative medical treatment.  Louie, Brook, and Frates (2016) discussed the beneficial physiological and psychological contributions laughter can have in our bodies.

The literature asserts that laughter has positive effects in decreasing stress hormones; cardiovascular effects such as blood pressure, and lower levels of cortisol, (Louie, Brook, & Frates, 2016). Furthermore, laughter yoga and the effects it has psychologically on depressed individuals has proved to be an effective form of treatment with medication and therapy (Mora-Ripoll, 2011).

Benefits of Laughter Yoga:

  • Good Mood: Laughing will allow you to release chemicals from your brain called endorphins which is good for you.
  • Quality of Life: Laughing is a positive energy which helps people connect and helps improve relationships.
  • Positive Outlook: Laughing helps to create a positive mental state to deal with negative situations and negative people. It gives hope and optimism to cope with difficult times.
  • Helps with stress: We live in a world where we are constantly busy. Laughing brings more oxygen to the body and brain which provides energy and feeling more relaxed.

How to Find Laughter Yoga Groups

Depending on where you live, you can always ask google for your nearest group. If you would like to practice this on your own, then you can youtube laughter yoga and follow along.

Remember that there are various creative ways out there to help you cheer up! Laughter Yoga is just one of them!

 

References:

Strean, W. (2009). Laughter prescription. Canadian Family Physician, 55(10), 965-967.

Louie, D., Brook, K., & Frates, E. (2016). The Laughter Prescription: A Tool for Lifestyle Medicine. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 10(4), 262-267.

Mora-Ripoll, R. (2011). Potential health benefits of simulated laughter: A narrative review of the literature and recommendations for future research. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 19(3), 170-177.

 

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