Why You Need to Try Laughter Yoga

Practicing “laughter-cise” can help us relieve stress, maintain perspective, and tap into our most creative ideas.

Laughter is a form of internal jogging. It moves your internal organs around. It enhances respiration. It is an igniter of great expectations.

—Norman Cousins

When was the last time you had a good belly laugh? Studies show laughter yoga gives your body some of the same benefits as moderate physical exercise and is one of the best remedies against ills. After laughing, you probably notice you feel better within seconds. It reverses stress hormones and activates endorphins — the body’s own painkiller.

Even fake laughing — laughter yoga built around forced laughing until it feels real — for one minute a day dampens stress, eases pain, stokes your immune system, and brightens your outlook. The science of laughter yoga is that even if you start with pretend laughing, your body can’t tell the difference.

Here’s how it works. In a standing position, look upward and hold your arms wide apart above your head. Start with forced laughing, engaging your shoulders, arms, face, and belly until the laughter starts to feel real. Continue for as long as you can, letting it rip: Ahhh-hahaha-whoohoohoo-ha-heeheehee! After hearty belly laughing, see if you agree that you get an instant lift.

Today’s Takeaway

Practice “laughter-cise” often, especially when you can’t get to the gym, and erase all your writing frustrations and clear your mind of stress.

Excerpt from Daily Writing Resilience by Bryan E. Robinson, PhD, with permission from the author and publisher.

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