LAUGHTER  AS  THERAPY 

‘A good laugh is a guinea in the Bank of Health’. 17th Century English Proverb. 

Published by the AIDS Council of NSW, Northern Rivers.

Laughter has been proven to boost one’s immunity, balance left and right hemispheres of the brain and promote feelings of general happiness. It offers tremendous health benefits and doesn’t cost anything to adopt in your life. Everybody goes through phases of depression in reaction to bad news, loss of a loved one or other adverse conditions. However, feeling blue serves a purpose as it forces you to make changes and develop strategies to counter the difficulties causing your pain. If you do not make adjustments and never confront the problems directly, the depressed feelings will continue. Laughter is a key way to deal with melancholia and there are various techniques that you can try. 

Caution:
Laughter exercises should not be done by women who are in the latter stages of pregnancy or by people who are not in good health, especially those with with a heart problems or suffer from asthma. 

Video Tapes. In one notable case, Norman Cousins, an editor of a US magazine, used old Marx Brothers films to laugh his way to good health and overcome his rare connective tissue disease. Obtain videos of your favourite funny movies and play them to your self whenever you feel down. Never watch sad movies when you are vulnerable. 

Audio Tapes. Apparently laughter tapes are available which you can play to yourself every morning after getting up out of bed. Canned laughter is always played in the background of TV sit coms to make the jokes seem much funnier. Laughter is infectious and it is much easier to laugh if other people are laughing with you. 

Yoga Laughter Exercises are very beneficial for those willing to practice them consistently. If at first you are unsuccessful keep practising every day for long term benefits.  

Firstly, stand with your feet apart and arms vertically up in the air so that you are reaching for heaven. Then say the sound HO so that it resonates in the chest. It should not come shallowly from the throat. Repeat until you commence laughing and continue for as long as you feel appropriate. 

Secondly, hold your thumb and middle finger together on both hands. Then say the sound HAAAA. Again it must resonate in the chest. Continue laughing for as long as you feel necessary. 

Taoist Inner Smile. In ancient China, the Taoists taught that an inner smile, a smile directed inwards to oneself, ensured longevity, good health and happiness. Close your eyes, relax and visualise a deep smile shinning through your eyes. Once your eyes develop a tingling feeling, direct this smiling energy down throughout your entire body. 

Friends. We all know the difference between cheery and glum people. Mix in with those who are good company and give you a boost. Avoid the drama queens and others who only drain you emotionally. Fun friends are the diamonds in your life.  

Physical Exercise is a foundation stone to general good health and happiness. One study established that an hour of good exercise was equivalent to an hour of psychoanalysis. The former is obviously the much cheaper option.  

To a significant degree, being happy or sad is a choice. Strategies can be learnt to promote your feelings of happiness with laughter being the main one. You can never be sad and laugh at the same time.