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.

Presenters At Swift Health & Fitness Summit

Here is the link to a blog for the Swift Health and Fitness Summit which I attended to present a short laughter segment over the lunchtime period. It was very well organised and in this blog I share about three people who presented, a building biologist, psychology coach and mindful movement coach. I bought the book by Nicole Bijlsma and Elizabeth Stewart, which are available online and also a link is there to the movement fellow, Chris Price. Enjoy the blog.

Retirement Villages – When Your Time Comes To Decide, Will This Phase Be A Challenge?

Retirement Villages – When Your Time Comes To Decide, Will This Phase Be A Challenge?

Recently I had the opportunity to present laughter yoga to a very large group of over 170 retirees at the General Meeting for the Willow Lodge Retirement Village at Bangholme. Most of the residents were present because there were burning financial issues which are affecting retirement villages nationally.
I love how being a laughter yoga leader takes me into many differing segments of the community, presenting me with an insider’s perspective, as often I am included in part of the meeting. This helps round off my understanding of current trends and issues amongst the different groups that I present to.
This particular one raises the question about how we feel and cope with the different phases and periods we go through as we live our life. I will share my view, raising questions for you, the reader about your own life, as often we can shut out or be oblivious to our own mortality. We can ignore certain things because we wish to avoid pain or confrontation until the time we are literally forced to face it.
Referring here directly to issues around getting older and wanting to perhaps hang on to things as they are, resist change, remember the past, not wanting to move forward.
This relates to outgrowing our home, downsizing, the difficult decisions to be made about our future as we get older, needing to move on and embrace change.
There is light at the end of the tunnel! There is hope! The first stage may be moving to a smaller house, town house or unit, when we start to slow down, feeling that it is all too much, we can feel a drain on our finances and our physical or psychological energy. Or we may have had our children move out and leave us, as it becomes time for their next phase in life also. Some of us have then as well lost our beloved partner.
The next option or one after the initial downsize can be a retirement village, prior to aged care accommodation, low care and then high care. This is where hope comes in for many happy and active years, living independently in a retirement village of your choice.
This phase of your life can be extremely rewarding, surrounded by people on your own wave length. It can be as you choose it to be, busy with a life filled with many activities and external excursions or it can alternatively be lived restfully. Living simply in a community, quietly and peacefully in the comfort of your own home or space, as you choose.
These years are extremely rich, an opportunity for growth and personal involvement with friends and family visits with less of the tiresome things such as overheads, loneliness and worry. There is a security to be felt in belonging and becoming involved in the retirement village era. It opens you up to new things, a new way of being and lifestyle.
My visit to Willow Lodge at Bangholme was personally gratifying. I was made welcome and Ray, a committee member was great getting totally involved with the demonstrating laughter yoga, mixing in the audience which was lots of fun for everybody. I was asked to help draw the lucky number prizes and then stayed for a cuppa.
My experience was positive and I found the residents to be vibrant, contributing and leading full lives, showing me when it is my time, nothing is to be but rather it will become a period in my life to be welcomed, lived fully and embraced.
After all, we take ourselves with us wherever we go. Whatever internal beliefs and structures that have become our foundations, will renew as we pass through these various life phases and changes.
Therefore I say to you. live each day now fully and positively. Laugh more. Breathe consciously, allow others to help you and do good where you can. Who you are today will go with you tomorrow.
Here is an excellent testimonial from Kay Smart, Secretary of the Willow Lodge Village Residents’ Association Inc.
Dear Lynette,
On behalf of the Willow Lodge Village Residents’ Association we would like to thank you for entertaining our residents at the recent General Residents’ meeting on 21st November 2013.
It was noted that your presentation followed a particularly serious meeting, with residents showing a lot of concern over a current situation affecting all their finances. However, your exercises and approach, certainly made them forget their problems for a while. The pictures that were taken are a testament to their acceptance of your actions. They couldn’t help but laugh which was the point of the exercise.
Thank you once again for coming to our meeting and “lightening” it up.
Regards
Kay Smart
Secretary Willow Lodge Residents’ Association

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