How can we lose something as natural as breathing?

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man on his knees, looking under a couch seat for something he has lost

“I don’t laugh much anymore.”

Those words from a dear friend I called to wish ‘happy birthday’ today were like a dagger to my heart.

Recent years have not been easy for ‘Sally’. We’ve been pals all our lives: our mums had ‘play dates’ for us when we were tots in nappies. Sally – like me – has celebrated her half-century. We both chased careers. Together we’ve cared for and lost our parents, both becoming ‘orphans’ in the past year. She lives alone in another state. While I didn’t think divorce and raising 2 kids alone was a blessing at the time, it has been: so too opening my heart to The Nice One. I’m blessed to have my family.

I’m blessed also to have had the practice and power of laughter yoga to get me through some really bleak times.

No matter what country we grow up in, no matter what language we speak, laughter is universal.

Whether it’s a chortle, a chuckle, a coo, a gurgle or a full-belly laugh, laughter is part of a baby’s experimentation in making sounds and communicating. It’s as natural as breathing.

And once she discovers how to laugh, she laughs ‘just because’… because it feels good, it sounds good, it’s a fun sound to make.

How is it that we can get so caught up in the seriousness of life, we forget (or lose) something as natural as breathing?

Sadly true. While so many of us yearn to be happier and healthier, depression, negativity and a feeling of isolation prevail.

Simulated laughter exercises as practiced in laughter yoga are known to lift mood, encourage positivity and break down the walls of loneliness.

You don’t have to feel happy. You don’t have to know a joke. You need to give yourself permission to have a go.

Sally’s not ready. Are you? I’d love to meet up at The Gap Laughter Club’s community weekly session or bring the laughter to your group – be it an aged care centre, workplace, a mental health facility — anywhere. Let’s talk about it. And if you’re reading this outside of southern Queensland, you can find a community laughter club at this link.

 

(c) Heather Grant-Campbell aka Heather Joy

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It has been scientifically proven that 20 minutes of laughter reaps real physiological benefits.

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"Heather Joy’s laughter yoga session was the most fun I’ve had at work in a long time! It was great to do it as a group – a team building exercise in itself. I definitely got a dose of therapy and endorphins, a workout for my lungs, and came away with a new tool to de-stress at the end of a day."

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