If you’re one of the many people who suffer from adrenal fatigue, you’ll agree it’s no laughing matter. However, recent scientific research shows that people who laugh more feel less stressed, sleep better and even have improved immune function. It seems that the old adage “laughter is the best medicine” might actually be true.
“If you’re not happy, act like a happy person and you will become one”
That’s all well and good, but when you’re flat out exhausted with your energy levels on the floor, the last thing you probably feel like doing is having a good old belly laugh. Adrenal fatigue is certainly no fun, so having someone telling you to cheer up may be the last thing you want to hear. However, the good news is that the same research shows it doesn’t really matter if you feel like laughing or not. As your body is unable to tell the difference between fake and genuine laughter, the physical effects are ultimately the same. Welcome to the world of laughter yoga!
What is Laughter yoga?
It’s 1995 in a park in Mumbai. A small group of people gather together with the aim of researching the physical benefits of laughter. After running out of jokes and amusing anecdotes, they begin to develop a range of exercises designed to initiate and sustain laughter. The resulting combination of yogic breathing / crazy laughing techniques led to the birth of the laughter yoga movement as we know it today.
These specific techniques have gone on to become a global phenomenon. There are now over a thousand groups who regularly get together to enjoy the benefits of laughter.
Laughter yoga is now practiced in schools, prisons, health centres and many other locations around the world, and is a proven rejuvenating therapy for people of all ages and backgrounds.
Can laughter reduce the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?
There’s more and more evidence to suggest that laughter can be beneficial to your health in a number of surprising ways.
- Results from studies carried out in Bangalore India showed that people who participated in regular sessions of laughter yoga had reduced levels of epinephrine and cortisol (stress hormones) in their blood. Laughing can significantly reduce blood pressure and feelings of stress and anxiety. A sure fire bonus for anyone dealing with adrenal exhaustion.
- Laughter is a form of aerobic exercise. The very act of laughing is known to increase the supply of oxygen to the blood stream. When you laugh for sustained periods of time, you experience higher levels of energy and vitality. This can lead to increased productivity at work, reduce “brain fog” and improve a low mood.
- Muscular movement (such as deep belly laughter) increases lymphatic circulation. As the lymphatic system is largely responsible for keeping bugs and illnesses away, this is one of the reasons why hearty laughter is great for boosting immunity.
- Laughter is believed to raise levels of DHEA (a hormone produced by the adrenal glands.) For people with adrenal fatigue, this could mean improved sex drive and more energy.
- The benefits of participating in a laughter yoga session are long lasting. Studies show that people who laugh regularly are generally in a better mood throughout the day. Laughing with others increases this sense of wellbeing, and can help foster a positive mental attitude even when things are not always going to plan.
How to do laughter yoga
In order to obtain the best results, exercises must be performed for between ten and fifteen minutes on a regular basis. It’s important to get the technique right in order to derive the maximum benefit. Although it isn’t necessary to attend a group, you may find it’s easier to laugh out loud when others are joining in.
Try these exercises either with a group of friends or alone.
The idea for this exercise is based on the yoga posture known as Simha Mudra and is fantastic for releasing tension. Open your mouth and stick out your tongue as far as it can go. Stretch open your hands like lions paws, and with your eyes wide open, make a laughing sound which comes from the bottom of your belly. This exercise is particularly good for improving blood flow to the thyroid gland.
Cell phone laughter
Hold an imaginary mobile phone and imagine you are laughing at the person on the other end. Make different gestures such as thigh slapping or raising your arms with hilarity. You can also chant ho ho ho ha ha ha he he he! If you look at yourself in the mirror, or see someone else doing this, your natural instinct will probably be to laugh out loud without even trying!
To find out more about how to get involved check out www.laughteryoga.org or have a go at some of the many free online videos that are out there.
Laughter yoga really is a work out for both the body and mind. Best of all it’s free!