To many of us, laughter is a mystery. The only thing we really know is that we love to do it. There's nothing quite like those gut-busting fits with our friends, and those memorable moments they create.
But there is more to laughter than we think. Laughter has healing properties due to the release of hormones. It reduces stress, boosts cognitive function and combats depression. Laughter is truly the best medicine!
I've been a Laughter Yoga instructor in Denmark for more than a decade. Laughter does so much more than put you in a cheerful mood. Much like traditional yoga, Laughter Yoga offers the ability to access the present moment, providing a state of mind that allows you to live in the here and now. As adults, we tend to dwell on the past and worry about the future. Yet it is in the Now, that life really happens. We need to dedicate time in our lives to truly experience it, in order to become authentic beings.
Laughter Yoga exists explicitly in the present. I understand if you are skeptical of this concept — many people are. The main concern is a fear of feeling silly, or just not being able to laugh naturally in a forced environment. To them I offer this advice: Fake it until you make it.
The act of fake laughter may seem to counter the idea of authenticity, but trust me — forcing a laugh will only help to facilitate the real chuckles that follow. When you combine that with the interaction with others who are doing the same thing, it gets pretty funny! Eventually, the laughter becomes real and soon everyone will find themselves in a laughing fit.
In the video below I've provided a few quick Laughter Yoga exercises that will help you practice living in the present.
Get a group of people together and try it out! Make sure to take a moment of quiet when you're finished, and take notice of how relaxed you've become. And if a giggle happens, don't worry — it's a completely normal and wonderful thing.