Both laughter and tears can make us feel better, and, in a Breathwork session, they come naturally.
Research has proven that there’s a lot more going on when our body expresses strong emotion than we realise. Anything from the slightest smile to a thigh-slapping belly laugh causes a positive response in your body.
Dr Peter Spitzer, medical director of the Humour Foundation and Clown Doctors in Australia, says. “Laughter is a bit like cardiovascular exercise - your blood pressure goes up and then comes down again, your lungs expand, you have more oxygen in your blood and your muscles get a workout,” he says. “It also stimulates the reward centre in your brain and triggers the release of feel-good and immune boosting chemicals.”
Norwegian scientists recently found that having a sense of humour can keep you healthy at least until retirement age. The study involved over 53,000 volunteers and looked at only friendly humour (as opposed to cruel or insulting humour). Those with the highest humour ratings were twice as likely to be still alive at the seven year follow up as those who were comparatively humourless but the health benefits were only significant up to the age of 75.
American researchers recently showed that mirthful laughter reduces stress hormone levels and increases immunity by boosting T-cells and natural killer cells that fight cancer. As for heart health- some experts say that just 20 seconds of good, hearty belly laughing is equivalent to three minutes on a rowing machine.
Psychotherapist and founder of Sigma Mindset, Julie Spain,. “All strong emotion causes a physiological ‘fight or flight’ response, leading to tensed muscles, a faster heart rate, higher blood pressure and shallower breathing,” she explains. A good cry every now and again can have a soothing effect because it reduces stress and releases endorphins, the brain’s feel-good chemicals to relieve pain and make you feel better.
So how can we use awareness and acceptance of our emotions to increase our wellbeing?
We have heard of laughter yoga when we consciously begin laughing until the laughing spontaneous takes over our entire body. Well there is movie yoga too. If you know you are sad, but cannot cry – make a list of the saddest movies you know or have heard of, then give yourself a day to watch them. At least two. Have a box of tissues handy and allow yourself to cry in the parts that move you. Similarly, if you want to life your spirits make a list of ‘feel good’ movies or light hearted comedies. Sit down and give yourself permission to watch two or more. This is, in fact an emotional education, since you are consciously allowing yourself to experience emotions in your body.
The magic of tears
Research has shown that tears produced as a result of emotion are chemically different from those produced by peeling onions. While the onion tears are mostly salty water, emotional tears contain stress-related hormone proteins, leading some experts to believe that crying may be a natural form of detox.
If you need more help unlocking your emotions and unblocking your energy - then a Breathwork session could very well help. Contact Ann to discuss the possibility.
Stress, immunity and laughter. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100426113058.htm
Tears and sex drive http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110106144741.htm
Laugh your way to retirement http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=77651&CultureCode=en
Cardiovascular laughing vs rowing machine www.asahq.org/Knowledge-Base/Bull-Pen/Humor-in-your-Practice-and-Personal-Life.aspx
Adapted from original article by Larraine Sathicq. Many thanks