For part 2 of our stress series, we’re talking Laughter Yoga with Sebastien Gendry – the C.E.O. of the American School Of Laughter Yoga and a leading Laughter Yoga expert in the world. I’m sure you’ll agree that just reading his words will make you feel more positive, more energetic and less stressed!

So what is Laughter Yoga, and what can it do for your stress levels?

The concept is simple: you can laugh for nor reason, anytime, anywhere, just because you want to. It’s about emotional resilience, learning to maintain a positive and cheerful attitude even in the face of adversity. It is a  form of exercise that allows anybody to laugh, alone or in a group, for an extended period of time, for absolutely no reason at all! The thing to remember is that you do not have to be happy or have a sense of humor to laugh.

“But why?” I hear you ask! Well, according to Sebastien, numerous scientific studies suggest that laughter is a powerful form of complementary medicine that can help people even in the most critical conditions. Laughter releases stress, strengthens the immune system, improves sleep and  boosts “happy chemistry”. So even if you fake it, just having a good old laugh will make you feel better.

I caught up with Sebastien to ask him how Laughter Yoga can help brides de-stress before the wedding!

If a bride is feeling the financial pressure of the wedding and can’t sleep how can laughter yoga help reduce her stress? It’s not going to pay the bills.

Laughter Yoga is a practice that will help you feel at peace and good about yourself in the present moment, for no particular reason. When you change, the world around you changes. When you feel good, you are more likely to address the challenges you have to face constructively and with a positive attitude. It’s a higher and also harder path because it places the responsibility for how you feel on you. This means that there is no room for slack anymore. You always have to give everything your best and be OK if it still doesn’t work.

A bride is feeling frustrated and angry at a wedding vendor, (or her mother in law), how can she discharge the situation and ‘lighten up’?

Feeling angry and frustrated is a personal choice. Looking for something “outside” of you to lighten up is not a good idea because the only real answer is within you. You can’t both choose to laugh to lighten up and be invested in your anger at the same time. My suggestion: take ownership: either you can change what you have or you can’t. If you can change anything, do it now. Fire your vendor. Send your mother in law away. If you cannot change what you have, then learn to laugh about it and be OK with it. There is no need to suffer twice.

It’s the morning of the wedding. What exercises do you recommend brides perform to set the tone for the day?

See http://www.laughteryogaamerica.com/4fun/body-mind. Choose an exercise and do it for at least 10 minutes, don’t just talk about it.

How has laughter yoga changed your life?

Laughter Yoga has not changed my life. It’s infinitely better. It’s changed me.
One of the most powerful lessons I have learned from this practice is to always ask myself “what can I do now with a positive attitude?” Fake it, yes, but fake it with enthusiasm. Laughing on a regular basis as a form of exercise has trained me to give everything I do the best I can.
If you fake it with passion and enthusiasm you end up with a natural high (it doesn’t matter whether you’re happy or sad when you run or swim at your comfortable top speed for a full 60 minutes. You will feel good afterwards and that’s not negotiable. It’s the same with laughter). Take yourself through the motions of laughter with enthusiasm. You will create the chemistry (the emotions) that go with it within about 10 minutes.

If brides can’t find laughter yoga groups in their area, are there any resources online to enable people to practice from home?

http://www.laughteryogaamerica.com/4fun/body-mind is a good place to start. There are currently an estimated 450+ Laughter Clubs in the USA and several thousands Certified Laughter Yoga Leaders. Most Laughter Clubs are free and public. Find a Laughter Club near you at http://www.laughteryogaamerica.com/maps

Laughter Yoga as Stress Management: Some Ideas!

  1. 1. Become a smile millionaire, just because;

2. Play with laughter cues (finish all your sentences with “Ha Ha Ha” or “Tee Hee Hee”);

3. Get Some Perspective: see small annoyances for what they really are – just small annoyances;

4. Write about the stressful situation with a funny slant;

5. Express Yourself: state your frustration out loud while doing something silly (e.g. jump on one foot 3 times and then twirl around. Adding a playful element to any charged situation helps counteract stress.);

6. Shout a positive motto during your most stress-filled moments (this may work best when you’re alone.) For instance, you’re in your car, stuck in traffic, and you have an appointment in 10 minutes. Rather than blame the drivers around you for everything wrong in your day, shout “I’m so happy” or “I’m really in love with life”;

7. Pull out the props: breathe your stress out into a balloon, write it on a piece of paper and burn it, wear a clown nose…


Learn more online about Laughter Yoga

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