Stress, Suggestions and Using Laughter Yoga

Stress, Suggestions and Using Laughter Yoga

What does the word stress bring up for you? Very likely it will be negative because the media influences us that stress is ‘bad’ and we are directed to find relief from it with buying, eating, drinking, holidaying etc. Many people are so accustomed to living in a stressful manner and may not realise that there are ways to combat it. It can be that when we our time is restricted, it is beneficial to feel under pressure and we can achieve that without sending our bodies into a stressed mode. In fact it can be uplifting and energising, rather like self-testing or facing a challenge. Laughter and other things like mindfulness and meditation can help a lot, here’s my take on incorporating Laughter Yoga into your daily routine – Read More

John Mitchell & Vicki at Ferntree Gully Laughter Club

I have this much limitation laugh (which is very little) and this much potential (which is huge), at Ferntree Gully Laughter Club.

John Mitchell and Vicki sharing a favorite laugh, a tiny space between thumb
and finger indicating that little limitation
and next the arms go wide showing how much potential.

Inhibitions, Stress and Bringing Laughter Yoga to VCE Psychology Students.

Who likes to get out of their comfort zone? It can be a rewarding experience to stretch yourself and the more that it becomes ‘normal’ the more comfortable you will be with unexpected things. The only constant thing in this world is change and every day is like a new day in your life, with things around you constantly changing. At times it is hard to get comfortable with your life situation and keep that familiarity. Do you agree with me?

Recently I was given the opportunity to provide three laughter yoga sessions for Beaconhills Secondary College at Berwick, which was from what I gathered, a top notch school. Specifically I was brought to share about laughter yoga and the benefits of it, Year 12 Psychology students.

These students are presently under enormous pressure, reaching the final lap of their school life. Just think, ten or eleven counting preps, compounding into these last few weeks, studying hard, feverishly catching up on all this year’s work before exam time?

It was interesting and important for the psychology students to learn about other ways of dealing with stress and how to recognise it. Two of the groups were better prepared by their teacher in class, having learnt about the body’s responses to stress, encompassing breathing and relaxation techniques and biofeedback.

What was in it for me also was observing in the first two groups, how completely different they were because of the peer group dynamics, the first group having a strong leader, which was not the case in the second group. The teacher also observed this, commenting that she had expected one particular boy to step up and take that role.

The next week when I returned to do one more laughter yoga session, that group were also very well prepared by their teacher and I shared with her that I felt to stretch them and go a little deeper. I felt to encourage them to drastically get out of their comfort zone, if that was the case as is quite usual when we do something for the first time. Especially ‘laughing for no reason’ as laughter yoga is called and a lot of people get out of the habit of laughing and find it difficult to do without someone else telling a joke or funny story.

The teacher agreed and explained that she had been with some of them all their school lives, trusted her and would do what she asked of them. Interesting indeed because I asked them to observe their feelings at the start, might check half way through their session and at the end. This was different for me, as the kids were old enough to approach this laughter yoga session in a way that could enhance their learnings, being given opportunities to witness their feelings as never before. In particular I shared how the one group with the strong leader looked to him and the next one felt disempowered, not entirely joining in wholeheartedly. I suggested participating fully, choosing to as an exercise, even if it did feel strange and uncomfortable, not to say that it would, but most likely would start like that at least a little bit.

Well they were fantastic and when their attention lagged at one stage, I brought them back, reminded them of their agreement to participate as fully as they were able to and they then re-engaged with the exercises.

Towards the end another great example of how easy it is to lose focus, something that I am personally forever working on, staying focused with the intention to stick with things and not get distracted.

In came a student who was having a birthday. We sang happy birthday using ‘ha ha ha, instead of the words and in the next exercise, they didn’t get into it at all. I stopped them, pointed out how the energy dropped, asked if they felt it, which they did and said ‘let’s do it again and this time fully participate’. Well it was a complete turn around and proved a point or two.

After we finished the laughter meditation, which is lying or sitting relaxed with free laughter, we had time for a relaxation. This went down very well too, which surprised me as sometimes children/people can even get uncomfortable with being still, quiet ‘doing nothing’ and start to giggle, distracting those who really want to simply relax their body, mind and emotions.

Love to hear of any other schools who would be interested in bringing some laughter too. It is tailor made, according to the school’s requirements, whether it be sharing laughter with relaxation, meditation, affirmations, games etc. I personally feel the world would be a better place for children to keep up the habit of laughter. Also learning the benefits to be had and holding on to this most precious and natural gift, as it sure is easy to lose it as we get older and so much harder to bring something back once it is gone. Many of you will be nodding your heads in agreement with me right there.

Thanks for reading, sharing and I am sending out lots of love, light and laughter blessings.

Lynette Mitchell xxx ooo

Feel the Community Spirit in Melbourne!

AUSTRALIA DAY MARCH 2013

Community spirit injection. Well, our dozen or so band of laughers joined in the March again and it was a beautiful day for it, neither hot nor cold, which meant that we could completely focus on walking and ho, ho-ing all the way to the Domain Gardens, where there were heaps of activities.

I feel the more that we nurture ourselves with the spirit of community and coming together in love, enjoying fun activities, the greater our roots are grounded into the earth.

Hats off to the laughter club members who marched and I feel that I can speak for all of us, it was a completely and utterly uplifting experience. The public of Melbourne were several deep lining the route and some of us high-fived them. Bronwyn counted and got up to 125, what an extraordinary number indeed.

After a little while I got right into the spirit of it and it was doubly joyful to do that. I put my hand or both hands up to give people a ‘high five’ and with that found our eyes connecting and could feel our hearts joining together. People’s faces lit up with that extra close interaction, instead of watching us walk and make noises as we passed.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to be on the inside out looking at so many people and feeling that I made a difference, together with my buddies, demonstrating laughter and light heartedness, bringing it to the awareness of the public that we happily exist in their home town.

The Australia Day People’s March was reported to have over 2000 representatives from community groups including multicultural, sporting and special interest clubs and 4000 public lining the streets watching the March. That is huge, is it not? I feel that there is so much fear and negativity in the world and on this day people take the opportunity to connect in body mind and spirit.

Mahes Karuppiah led the laughter session in the afternoon, here are some pictures that my husband John, my greatest supporter took of us laughing together. I noticed that the crowd of onlookers was far greater than others years and that they joined in with the laughter and breathing exercises without restraint. It was a fantastic session and one can only hope that the positive experience will indeed help to spread the laughter word around the halls of Melbourne and wider.

I would also like to acknowledge the consistent and long time service given by Phillipa Challis, the Founder of Laughter Clubs Victoria Inc. Each Australia Day, Phillipa arrives early at the Domain Gardens, bringing banners and information and staying all day manning the marquis in order to talk with the hoards of people wanting to find out about laughter clubs in Victoria. Thank you Pip.

For those locals who feel that they may be keen to come in next year or any other year after that, let me tell you that there are many and varied activities around the gardens after the March. Especially for young children, there was a marquis of people called ‘Outrageous Workshops’, where the littlies were busy sticking things onto CDs to thread and hang around the necks or to decorate a shade visor for their head.

There were hundreds of old and collectable cars and my husband even made a newspaper pot and potted an Australian native seedling. Wait there’s more, a sheep dog herding sheep, little ponies to pat, ducks, goats and sheep to hand feed.

I loved seeing the Roulettes fly over in formation again at 2pm. There were six of these special planes and OMG they looked as if they came so close that it took my breath away.

James Morrison was playing his trumpet, opera singers were singing, the Ukulele club were Ukuleleying. All in all it was a fabulous, community spirited and fun filled day.

We wearily walked to the railway station and took a train home, being really glad for making the effort to go and do it and I will be back next year, rain, hail or shine.

Come and join me! Please!

Love and Laughter Blessings once again.

xxxx oooo

Seniors Week – City of Greater Dandenong 9 October 2012

Last week for the third annual time I did a Laughter Yoga session for Seniors Week for the City of Greater Dandenong. It was a very successful one, however not what we might have expected. The two previous years we had about twenty people attend and it went down very well, they obviously felt uplifted and enjoyed the laughter session, ending with some meditation.

However this time was different, as their bookings were low. In fact only three people turned up. Perhaps some got lost, as it was difficult to find the place and correct building. But wait there is more! I did say it was successful. We asked the Dutch people in the next room if they would like to join in and we went in to their space and did the session. It was a bit different to the other times, as we included a great discussion about laughter, fun and that led into a discussion of stress and ways to reduce it with breathing and meditation.

Even though it was not what had been anticipated, the hour was valuable for us all. A couple of noteworthy sharings to make here, were that a 92 year old (or should I say young?) lady shared how she spent half an hour each morning in the bathroom doing her exercises. Talk about walking the talk, keeping up and never giving up.

And a gentleman shared how he is inclined to feel anxiety and he chooses to laugh every day as an exercise. If he misses doing it regularly, he goes right back to being filled with apprehension and anxiety. So glad he came along. It was worth it, even with smaller numbers. I hope they put it on again next year because to even touch one person’s life positively is a great worth.

I  invite you to share your positive experiences from your everyday life regarding laughter helping you, or perhaps like the 92year old lady, a regular routine that enables you to get more out of life. Thank you. xx

Here is a link received today from Natural Therapy Pages regarding the psychology of laughter.

http://blog.naturaltherapyforall.com/2012/10/15/the-psychology-of-laughter—why-do-people-laugh/