The Joys Of Bringing Play To The Work Place And How It Can Boost Happiness

Does playing and boosting happiness in your work environment sound like rolling a boulder uphill? Do you often feel stressed out, depressed, sleepless, have negative thoughts or feel isolated? If this describes you then maybe you are ready for laughter yoga.

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The basic premise is to laugh for no reason without relying on humor, jokes or comedy. Laughter yoga is founded on the fact that the body does not know the difference between self-initiated laughter or real laughter. Laughter yoga is a revolutionary idea that involves a simple exercise routine that can be done alone or with co-workers.

Do you remember being a child and laughing for no reason? Children may laugh up to 400 times a day, while adults may only laugh 15 times a day. From Norman Cousins to Patch Adams, adults are being encouraged to lighten up—that wellness depends on it. The medical benefits of laughing for no reason are well documented.

In addition your work environment and relationships with people will improve.

  • Laughter boosts the immune system by decreasing the body’s cortisol levels (an immune suppressor)
  • Hearty laughter speeds up the heart rate, improves blood circulation and increases oxygen consumption
  • Laughing for 15 seconds a day adds two days to a person’s overall lifespan
  • Laughter increases antibodies in saliva, combating upper respiratory infections
  • Laughing causes the body to secrete an enzyme that protects the stomach from forming ulcers.

You can do laughter yoga without any special guided techniques. We initiate the laughter as a body exercise alone, or with others. When we are in a group of our co-workers we use eye contact and childlike playfulness.

Soon the initiated laughter turns into contagious laughter. When we are alone we can practice by looking in a mirror, or simply by focusing on our breath. When you are doing this alone you might explain to co-workers what you are doing because you laughing for no reason may scare them, or they may want to join in?

Laughter yoga sessions can include a gentle warm-up which include stretching, chanting, clapping and body movement. These help break down inhibitions and develop feelings of playfulness.

Breathing exercises are used to prepare the lungs for laughter, followed by a series of ‘laughter exercises’ that combine the method of acting and visualization techniques with playfulness. Laughter exercises are interspersed with breathing exercises. Twenty minutes of laughter is sufficient to develop full physiological benefits.

Some examples of laughter yoga:

  • Cell Phone Laughter: Hold an imaginary cell phone to your ear and laugh.
  • Gradient Laughter: Fake a smile; giggle, then laugh slowly and gradually increasing in tempo and volume.
  • Greeting Laughter: Greet everybody the way you normally greet (e.g. shake hands) and replace words with laughter.
  • Hearty Laughter: Spread your arms up, look up and laugh heartily as you direct your laughter to come straight from your heart.
  • Think of a socially awkward situation and laugh at it (e.g. shoe laces untied, shaving cream behind your ears…)
  • Driving laughter: Pretend you are driving a car and laughing.
  • Argument laughter: Pretend you are arguing with your coworker, but rather than yelling, laugh without words.

A laughter yoga session may finish with a “Laughter Meditation”. This is a session of unstructured laughter whereby participants sit or lie down and continue to laugh from the heart without constraint or stopping for five minutes.

Pin ItWhen was the last time you allowed yourself to spontaneously play? Did you feel happier, more relaxed, and at ease? When you become more playful your laughter quotient multiplies and your wellness increases. Go ahead and laugh for no reason.

See for yourself how it feels. Maybe a little awkward at first but if you allow yourself to keep going you will recognize all the benefits listed here.

Okay all together now, ha, ha, ha, he, he, he, hi, hi, hi, ho, ho, ho, hu, hu, hu…

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