Doesn’t time fly? I feel that most people will agree that with the passage of time can come the chance to heal, be in some degree of acceptance and move through our most difficult times. It’s amazing how differently we can feel right throughout our lives as we experience the various stages and challenges that they bring. Everything can become a learning experience, enabling us to grow and evolve. That is how it is for me anyhow, using the passage of time to continually evolve. And as they say, the only constant is change.
15 years ago, I became involved with the laughter clubs and it’s given me the chance to open up more to many things. I have gained much in many ways, which can be directly attributed to my involvement in the laughter movement. One area of improvement was in my confidence and to feel comfortable rather than self-conscious and wanting to withdraw when conversing with people. My self-worth wasn’t as good as I thought it was and I found myself busy with many activities to help me feel fulfilled. You will have heard of that one, busy being, busy being busy? Outwardly I appeared fine, confident and happy but it was much bravado because inside there was inadequacy and a fear of public speaking.
For me it all began when a current affair programme covered laughter yoga. I saw people laughing uproariously in ways that was to me, not the norm. They were having loads of fun and joy in a group and I decided then and there to become involved when the chance presented.
It turned out to be the best decision, as I became a laughter club leader, which flowed on to sharing laughter yoga with many and varied groups and organisations. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, yet strongly loved the idea of laughing together with people in a group situation. With that came facing my fear of being out there in the public eye. Particularly I had a fear of public speaking, which gradually diminished because there I was anyway, in front of people, speaking, sharing and leading laughter sessions. I knew I had to feel the fear and overcome it, were I to succeed.
The reason for that I share this is because many people who hear about the benefits of laughter, or Laughter Yoga as it is commonly called, would benefit from attending a laughter club and do not as they are held back with their own fear. I have experienced a lot of fear when doing new things throughout my life. And then when we give it a go and learn, step by step, become more comfortable and totally get over our fears.
Some fears come from what we see as a small child. We are naturally linked in and affected by our culture, family and so forth. Contained within us is a history book of experiences that mould us into our unique expressions of self. Unconsciously we observe our parents, family, society, community and where we live, taking on beliefs, which may be limiting and often misconstrued as we do our best to make sense of the world we are born into.
Everything affects us whether we realise it or not. It sounds quite complex, would you agree? Without knowing it, we are influenced by so much around us. Think about what we see, television shows, advertisements, or listening to the radio, to name a few common influences in our lives. No wonder we may feel bombarded and our senses overloaded.
There are many people who are quiet, shy and lack feelings of positive self-worth and self-confidence, without even being aware of it. They may put on an acceptable air, a couldn’t care less or angry attitude. No judgment either; if we are happy to go along and be as we are, not desiring to change or be interested in self-improvement.
You may ask is there a purpose behind this sharing and whether it relates to laughter yoga and laughter clubs? Yes. It does very much so. Laughter club members have often come along with these traits of being shy, lacking confidence, feeling depressed and in their various ways, looking for something to help themselves feel better.
I have two examples to share with you of laughter club members who have benefited from joining one of our laughter clubs. Some kind words were texted to me the day after a laughter club session that impacted me. The writer is a quiet, gentle, shy lady. When she first came three years ago, she had been in a depression for ten years, until she decided it was time to try to turn her life around. She took a stand and turned up at the laughter club in black clothes. We had a wonderful surprise on the third time that she came, she was wearing bright periwinkle blue! We credit her resilience and willingness to get out of her comfort zone and never ever give up.
Her sincere, spontaneous words were seen as an opportunity to pass on to you and give you a notion of what may be achieved. It’s a great example of what adding regular laughter to your life can offer and which is frequently transformational.
She wrote “Wow. I am really pleased I met you all three years ago. You have made a real difference in my life. This week I bought more bright clothes and I wore my gold shoes on Saturday. I would never have worn gold shoes prior to three years ago. Another thing. I danced for the first time at the jazz afternoon at the Village Green. That was another first since my wedding in 1984. See how you have both turned my life around. A big thank you. xxx”
The reference to jazz and dancing is because the laughter club members go out on social outings together too. Some members comment that they would never go to a live play without going out with our group.
Other kind words to share – another regular lady has been coming for four years in May when we met at World Laughter Day. She was looking for something, did not know what it was and felt laughter may be worth trying. She is also quiet and a woman of few words. “It has added a lot of joy to my life, something that wasn’t there before. And I won’t stop!” She has often also shared that the laughter helps her to move forward.
Thank you both for sharing and we hope in doing so, it may help potential members comprehend the sense of fun and belonging that current members feel. I encourage you to come along to one of our two laughter clubs and give it a fair go. Come more than once; at least three times, and then see how you feel. It is possible starting out, that you may throw yourself into it. Alternatively, you may feel ill at ease with a sense of it being a bit too much and not for you.
Age is no barrier for you coming, our members range in age between four and 80. Women do outnumber the men however, as it somehow is easier for women to embrace the spirit of laughter and wellbeing than the men, who are generally more inhibited.
Does this inspire you to come along or put it on your bucket list? Let’s hope so. There is no time like the present and you will feel most welcome. Do please contact me with any questions by email, text or phone to find out more or to be added to the email newsletter.
Thank you. Much love. Lynette.