“Laughter is the best medicine.”
While there is some question as to where this saying originated, it couldn’t be more true. Get this, it turns out that meditation and laughter have a lot in common. Both lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Both help you to feel less anxious and reduces aggression and anger. Both strengthen your heart and lower your blood pressure. Both improve your immunity. In addition, laughter burns calories and strengthens relationships. How can you be mad when you’re both enjoying a good belly laugh together?
Believe it or not, there’s even a “thing” called Laughing Meditation. Why, you ask? That’s a great question and while I ask that myself, I can see the objective. When you’re laughing, you mind doesn’t have the ability to wander, so you stay in the present moment. You focus on your laugh, how it feels in your body and maybe what you find so funny, but there’s no chance to ruminate about the past or worry about the future. Any type of movement meditation can be helpful to keep you in the present moment. I regularly practice walking meditation for that reason.
You may have guessed that this isn’t something I practice myself. If it’s something that interests you, give it a whirl with these suggestions:
- You can practice alone or in a group.
- You can stand, sit or lay down.
- Do some body scanning to help relax your body. Focus on each part of your body, using your exhale to help you release stress. Do this for 3 minutes or so.
- Begin the laughter by just smiling first, then move to easy, effortless laughter. Move up to deep belly laughs and keep moving through the practice until you find a laughter that feels natural to you. Do this for 3 – 5 minutes.
- Now sit in silence and stillness, noticing what you notice. How does the body feel, what emotions are present, what thoughts arise.
Laughter has many physical benefits to your overall health and well being. Make it a part of your regular wellness routine. Go read a funny book, watch a silly kitten video or a classic comedy, (we recently watched Mrs. Doubtfire), or do something else that tickles your funny bone, and take time to laugh every day.