We all like a good laugh, don’t we? It releases stress, puts us in a good mood, and generally makes us feel better about life.
Were you taught in your childhood,as I was, to put a lid on your laughter and keep it down? I remember giggling in church, at school, on solemn occasions and getting frowned at by adults. This often made me laugh even more, as I tried to stuff down the irrepressible gales of guffaws welling up from deep inside me. Or maybe there wasn’t much to laugh about in your childhood. Whatever the case, laughter has many dimensions of benefits for us, and I want to share them with you now. I have been practicing Laughter Meditation for over twenty-five years. My life has transformed, and the same can happen for you.
Laughter is good for us in every way: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Among its many benefits:
1. LAUGHTER STIMULATES PHYSICAL HEALING
Scientific research has now proven that laughter does indeed, improve our health and well-being. If you can laugh when you are stressed, anxious, worried, even if you are ill, you feel better sooner. Laughter lowers blood pressure, boosts immune function, decreases stress hormones, relaxes muscles, assists in pain reduction (you can “forget” about the pain for a few moments),and is good cardiac exercise. Laughter brings energy from within you to heal, soothe, and inspire.
2. LAUGHTER ENHANCES OUR CREATIVITY
What I have noticed after numerous episodes of laughter is that as our energetic systems open up we are flooded with more creative energy. As old conditionings are released the unconscious opens and insights come. The relaxation of body and mind provides a gateway for creativity to come forward into expression.
3. LAUGHTER IS REJUVENATING AND REGENERATING AND KEEPS US YOUNG
When we laugh and smile we loosen up and generally feel better. The face collects a lot of our stress and when we laugh a tremendous amount of tension from the face, neck and
head is released. This gives us a more youthful appearance. It reminds us about having fun. Maybe today, do something just for the sheer fun of it. And think of the money you save on cosmetic procedures to make you look “younger”! Laughter radiates your youthful spirit through your eyes and whole being
4. LAUGHTER IS SEXY
Laughter is a positive energy vibration and helps attract people to you that are good for you. It is beneficial for anyone who is sexually blocked. It releases inhibitions and opens up the energetic channels, bringing us directly in touch with our energy. The Law of Attraction states that you get what you vibrate. Laughter helps keep your energy at a highly positive vibrational level so you attract good things. And who isn’t sexy when they laugh?
5. LAUGHTER IS GOOD FOR RELATIONSHIPS
Laughter draws people together, doesn’t it? Many couples who do the Laughter Meditation together tell me they find a tremendous improvement in their relating. They discover another side of each other, the playful, humorous side which gives a relief to the more serious part of life concerned with work, money, housework, the kids, etc. Remember the old adage: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”? Well, it doesn’t do much for Jill either!
Laughter improves relating with our children. They are our teachers in this regard. They laugh easily, and often. Children remind us of the magical qualities of wonder, imagination, spontaneity, playfulness, being fun and funny, which we all need to balance the stresses of life.
Relating with family members, colleagues at work, neighbors, people in the grocery store, commuters in traffic jams, for example, can be enhanced with laughter and smiles. Camaraderie is created, and a longing we all have for connection is fulfilled. Laughter heals feelings of isolation and separation and reminds us that we are all humans, living together on this earth. We all make mistakes and have flaws and laughter eases the wounds and reminds us that we are all loved and connected.(And I mean,of course, laughing with people, not at them.)
6. LAUGHTER OPENS OUR HEARTS
Laughter creates an opening to the love, compassion, courage, trust and intuitive wisdom that vibrates within us all. It’s difficult to hate a person you are laughing with. It’s difficult to be afraid of a person you are laughing with.
When we laugh we become more vulnerable, and approachable. We fall into trust and drop our defenses, becoming more willing to be flexible, and accepting. This helps towards preventing or stopping conflicts. Tensions are eased and we see one another’s points of view better. As we become more relaxed, the world around us changes and becomes more relaxed.
Laughter brings a healing quality to our relationships and reminds us that, at the root, we all want the same things: to love and be loved, to be happy and at peace.
7. LAUGHTER GIVES US A GLIMPSE OF FREEDOM FROM THE MIND
For those moments when you are totally laughing, you are free of the mind. All your problems disappear for a few moments, don’t they? In those seconds of hilarity you are brought from worry to joy, from tension to relaxation, from fear to trust, from timidity to courage. In other words, from the mind to the heart. You cannot think and laugh at the same time. In those moments when you are out of the mind you are in meditation. In those seconds the mind is not and you are, in the present moment. Laughter serves as a bridge to take us deeper into meditation, into inner peace, wisdom and joy.
Here is the laughter meditation technique I use.
Do this as often, and for as long as, you like. And remember to laugh, a lot, every day!
Step One: (One Minute)
Start laughing. You can shout out “Yahoo” three times and raise your arms up in the air,
or use a funny Youtube video, or any idea you have to start yourself laughing.(It’s easier, especially at the beginning, to do this with at least one other person.) Do not speak in any language you understand. Just laugh.
Step Two: (One Minute)
Sit in silence with your eyes closed. If there is still laughter bubbling up, allow it. Never repress your laughter. Eventually your laughter transforms into a joy-filled silence.
For more information on Laughter Meditation
For Pragito’s latest book “Laughter, Tears, Silence”, guided meditation CDs, and to join her Laughing Buddhas Network community (it’s FREE!) check in at her website www.discovermeditation.com
*See research by Dr.Lee Berk and Dr.Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University in California