Laughter therapy: the wonderful health benefits of laughter

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There are times in life when crying and sadness win out over laughter and joy. Crises, breakups, job loss, pandemics or diseases are the most frequent reasons that can leave us in despair. And it is known that mood has a great influence on physical health, so we are wondering if in the midst of great difficulties it is possible to improve mood. The answer is found in laughter therapy, a technique that is gaining popularity as they are proving their countless benefits.

What is laughter therapy

And what is laughter therapy? We are not talking about a psychological therapy, although many psychologists use it as a complement in their treatments. Laughter therapy is a technique based precisely on laughter to improve mood. What most people wonder is whether forcing laughter or joy can work or whether it is a mere smokescreen to hide the different physical and emotional ailments.

The practice of laughter therapy tells us that it is an effective and very beneficial technique. For this reason, laughter therapy workshops associated with medical centers are proliferating and in many hospitals there are already animators for patients to use laughter as a medicine but without side effects. Indeed, laughter heals, laughter heals and sometimes you have to push it a little to get it to come out.

Laughter therapy is not only used to improve the recovery of patients in hospitals. This technique, commonly used, works as a prevention, especially for emotional disorders, anxiety problems and depression. Signing up for a laughter therapy workshop is an investment in the future to help you maintain good physical and emotional health.

The effects of laughter on health

If you are not entirely convinced, it may help to know how laughter works on health, how it acts directly on the organism. Sigmund Freud once noted that laughter could free the body of negative energy and we must bear in mind that when we laugh we not only activate some 400 facial muscles, but also stimulate certain areas of the brain.

We are not going to get bogged down in scientific terms, but to give us an idea of how laughter works, we can clarify that when we laugh we produce all those substances that we always hear about when we talk about depression. Endorphins, serotonin, dopamine... All this contributes to relieve physical pain and also to relax muscular and emotional tension. Can we ask more from laughter? We can, because laughter therapy has countless health benefits.

Benefits of laughter therapy

Where do we begin to list the benefits of laughter therapy? Well, we can start on the physical side. Laughter is a most effective remedy against insomnia because, by providing us with a certain tranquility, we sleep better and get a better quality of sleep. It is a great start, because sleeping well is the key to well-being.

We can continue with the benefits of laughter therapy to strengthen the immune system and thus prevent all kinds of infections and other diseases. The more we laugh, the more our heart is strengthened, the more our skin is oxygenated, thus delaying aging. Laughter also improves circulation, breathing, facilitates digestion, lowers blood pressure and, in cases of mild pain, acts as an analgesic.

If the physical benefits are remarkable, the psychological benefits of laughter therapy are no less so. Reducing stress and gradually bringing a more positive outlook on life are the magical effects of laughter. Something so simple that we should practice every day but that we forget so much in the worst moments. And it is in the worst moments when we most need this resource of laughter.

In a laughter therapy session, worries and torments disappear, at least for a moment. It's a relief, isn't it? But it is also that practicing this technique regularly improves self-esteem, promotes creativity, promotes motivation and helps you to have more confidence in yourself. As you can see, all these aspects are closely related to disorders such as anxiety and depression, so you can imagine that you find in laughter therapy one of the best allies to improve your mental health.

How to practice laughter therapy: funny and effective exercises

And after so much theory, let's go to practice. Shall we try it? Laughter therapy is a technique that is organized in a group, so we can add to all its previous benefits a considerable improvement of your social life, bring fun to your day to day, do some physical exercise and, something more valuable than you imagine, lose the sense of ridicule.

A laughter therapy session usually begins with stretching to release muscle tension. Then you have to promote communication among the group to feel confident, create complicity and a good atmosphere. And from there, you have to play, you have to have fun, you have to return to childhood, leave your embarrassment at home and do the exercises to finish with a good laugh.

Among the most frequent laughter therapy exercises is the mirror exercise, which also has the advantage that you can repeat it alone at home as many times as you want. You stand in front of the mirror and smile at yourself. Then you start to make faces, at first cautiously, then you increase the intensity until you turn your face into a nonsense. Exaggerated grimaces, implausible expressions that will make you wonder what the hell you are doing. And with the result you see in the mirror... You will have no choice but to laugh.

Grimaces are also used in laughter therapy group workshops by placing you face to face with another person. One person starts to grimace and the other person tries to imitate him/her. This exercise may sound predictable to you, right? And the truth is that each therapist has his or her particular techniques, but in all sessions you will find more than one exercise that will surprise you a lot.

Like when they tell you that while you are so quiet at home doing your chores, eating, cooking, cleaning or watching TV, you suddenly burst into laughter out of nowhere. If you don't live alone, you'd better warn your family that you're doing your laughter therapy workshop homework, lest they take drastic measures out of concern for your mental health.

Another common laughter therapy exercise is to laugh using different syllables. This technique also requires a different body posture, on tiptoe and with your arms raised. In this way, you have to laugh very loudly with the syllable "ja" for about one minute. Return to your normal posture, take a breath and return to the same position to continue with the next syllable, "heh".

These are just a few examples of the infinite number of exercises that you will find in a laughter therapy workshop, but we can already tell you that you will immediately see that you have more energy and that your dose of optimism has increased after a session of laughter. And laughter is not a drug that you have to take in moderation, laughter has no contraindications or adverse side effects.

Video: Does Laughter Therapy Really Work?

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