Last year I made a decision. I was going to say goodbye to watching, reading, or listening to anything that was negative. No more drama and action movies. No more listening to the daily news. No more reading anything that was violent or disturbing. There is enough pain in the world already, and I wasn’t going to actively seek out anything else that made me feel bad.
In its place, I looked for laughter. I wanted to know and understand everything I could about laughter. I learned how laughter impacts our health and how we can find more of it. I tried to find humor in every conversation, in every situation. I tried laughter therapy.
I read about the endless benefits of laughter:
· Strengthens our immune systems
· Clears our minds
· Relaxes our muscles
I went to an all-day laughter therapy session (yes they have those). I found it online and decided to give it a try. As the day approached, I found myself feeling really nervous about it. I literally had no idea what to expect. All sorts of imagined scenarios popped into my mind: a group of people chanting and waving their hands in the air. I saw myself being asked to stand in front of the room and tell jokes….and me not being able to say a word. Then I visualized a weird cult-like experience with people chanting together in unison. Was I going to have to do group exercises that I didn’t want to do? Would we be asked to literally roll on the floor laughing?
And what does a person wear to a laughter therapy day? Like for real. Does the occasion call for a dress? Work out clothes? What? So. Many. Questions.
The session was held in a public library. As I walked in through the doors and took a look around, I immediately felt out of place. I could feel every eye in the room watching me. I was the newbie. The rest of the group clearly all knew each other and were busy catching up with each other. As the session began, I learned more about the people there. It was an eclectic group of people that ranged from musicians to accountants. Apparently, laughter is something everyone is after!
We started the day with a game. A clapping game. We all clapped two times to the right and three times to the left, with our hands parallel to each other. Then we added saying “ho-ho-ha-ha-ha” for each clap. I felt so dumb. This seemed so stupid. I didn’t understand the point. At all.
Next we did a group exercise where we introduced ourselves to each other but we only spoke in gibberish. Okay, full disclosure. While I thought this was also dumb, I eventually busted out laughing. Maybe there is something to this after all!
The next couple of exercises I actually thought were more interesting. We pretended to pick up flowers. We bent over and mimed picking up a flower and sniffing the flower while inhaling deeply and then exhaling with a long aaaahhhh. After a few rounds of this, reaching to the left side and the right side, we did the Santa exercise. The idea was to go around the world with Santa arms out in a big hug with big belly and bent knees deep with a deep Ho, Ho, Ho!
Later in the day, we did the electric shock laughter exercise. We imagined that everything we touched gave a shock of static electricity (shaking hands, touching the wall, touching your shoes, etc.) We jumped each time it happened and then would touch random people lightly and jump abruptly backwards. This one was a sure laugh.
All in all, the day was fun. I would do it again and recommend it.
Laugh on my friends.