Laughter blog - why laughter really is the best medicine

Laughter Training for business

Laughter Training for business

We offer a full service in Laughter Yoga training for business.  Our training is flexible and designed around your needs. It includes visiting your organisation to provide regular Laughter Yoga sessions right through to training your staff to provide your own Laughter sessions.

Our Laughter Yoga Training can be in-house or at an open course. We often run courses for both the Midlands and the South West.  Our partners also offer Laughter Yoga Training in the North West and North East. Please contact us for more information.

 

BENEFITS OF LAUGHTER IN BUSINESS

Laughter is a proven means of stress-release, it’s great for helping people to connect with others, and it can really take people out of their comfort zones.

Try Laughter Yoga for:
– stress management

-creativity training

-team away days

-dealing with change and learning curves

-supporting new teams

-re-energising old teams

-just doing something new, out of the ordinary, and fun.

OPEN LAUGHTER COURSES FOR COMPANIES

Please register your interest by emailing us or using our contact form, and we will let you know as soon as the Open Course is available in your area.

BESPOKE COURSE FOR YOUR ORGANISATION

Please contact us to discuss your requirements in full. We have an extensive fact-find in order to create the perfect Laughter Yoga course for your business

WANT TO HOST?

We can offer preferential rates for organisations that may wish to host an Open Course at their company.  In these situations, the course would still be open to people from outside the company, subject to your approval. Please contact us to discuss.

 

 

Laughter Yoga in Schools

Whether your pupils are 4 or 18, our Laughter Yoga in Schools service is centred around stress management and Laughter Yoga.  Laughter Yoga is an excellent addition to any school curriculum, offering support in learning,  as well as bringing greater confidence, self-esteem and resilience to pupils.

Make things happen and laugh!

Our Laughter in Schools offering, means we can create a bespoke and tailored approach to suit your school, whether you would like a laughter “taster session”, a one-day laughter event, or a full integration into your curriculum across the year.

Laughter can support pupils at all stages of their learning, and whilst it needs to be tailoredLaughter Yoga perspective and pencils to suit different ages and requirements, the principles are the same – using the beneficial psychology and physiology of Laughter training to bring about positive and deep-seated effects.

Choose from:

  • Laughter Yoga sessions in school
  • Laughter Yoga for assemblies and events
  • Laughter Yoga training for staff and parents
  • Laughter facilitation training for events and activities
  • Laughter Yoga products, including DVDs
  • Laughter Yoga CPD
  • Our activities and services in schools are not just in-school! We offer a selection of training and Laughter support, that can be used for parents, after-school and even holiday care.

Learn to be a Laughter Leader!

And – we are fully trained to train you! If YOU would like to deliver Laughter Yoga sessions in your school, then we can train and certify you officially to become a certified Laughter Yoga Leader, an internationally recognised certification with Laughter Yoga International.

Listen out for Laughter Yoga Radio 4…

Tim Vine Laughter Yoga

Laughter Yoga Radio 4 with Tim Vine

Sue Haswell recently lead an on-air Laughter Yoga Radio 4 session with Tim Vine at the Babbacombe Theatre, Torquay, Devon with an audience of 600.  The session was recorded and will be played back on Radio 4 on the Tim Vine show.

We’ll post a link to the podcast as soon as it becomes available.

Tim Vine and Sue Haswell Laughter Yoga Radio 4Sue said: “Tim Vine is one of my favourite comedians so I was delighted when he came to our area to record a show for Radio 4.  I had a bit of a cold, but thought I would still put my name down as a potential guest… and then as my cold took effect throughout the evening, I was beginning to regret that decision.   Fortunately adrenalin really kicked in when I actually got invited on stage to talk about Laughter Yoga, and when I realised the PR opportunity I decided to offer Tim and the audience a quick Laughter Yoga session.

“I got fabulous feedback after the show, and a number of people asked to talk with me about using Laughter Yoga in their businesses and lives.

“This was a brilliant experience and I’m still buzzing after the show.  Proud to have promoted Laughter Yoga on the national stage via Radio 4.  The more people who know about the power of laughter the better.

Laughter yoga on the Radio – it’s no turkey farm (we hope!)

Laughter Yoga is both a visible and audible experience, and as so much Laughter Yoga has been on the TV, it will be interesting to notice how the experience evolves on radio.  Certainly in past audible recordings, I’ve heard a small group of laughter yogi’s described as “sounding like a turkey farm”, which was quite funny in iteself.  However this may be a very different sound with 600 people in the audience.

Looking forward to hearing the final broadcast, and hoping that Sue doesn’t sound too Brummy or bunged up, and that any Torquay turkeys weren’t too close to the microphones.

 

Tim Vine show link to series 1

Stress and Laughter – stressed out with “Circular Thinking”? Stop and have a laugh instead!

Woman stressed

Stress and Laughter aren’t opposites for no reason… you can hack stress with a little laughter.

I love using  Laughter Yoga to support creative thinking and training, help stress and laughter really is the best way.  Just recently I’ve been doing some training using laughter to support organisations with their stress-management, and I’ve been consistently impressed at the benefits that laughter offers… 

…one of these benefits is facilitating creative thinking in a stressful situation. Anyone who’s tried to be creative whilst stressed-out, may well have noticed that stress is not the most resourceful creative state to be in.  That’s because the logical left brain thinking that accompanies the feelings of stress and overwhelm, tends to focus purely on analytical processes.Woman stressed

We’ve all heard about the left and right sides of our brains – left for logic, right for creative.  And like most things in life, we need both sides to be functioning well to really maximise our results.   However being a stressful situation without any release can lead to circular thinking, with the problem and issue just going round and round in our minds as we seek a “logical” solution.  Of course, the solution doesn’t appear and this in itself can cause yet more stress and so the circle turns into a downward spiral.

Once this starts, the issue can often remain unresolved because it needs some creative input – but the log-jam of logical thought processes and stress simply won’t get out of the way to allow the right brain creativity to be heard.

Stop Stress and Laugh – use laughter when stressed out – it offers a release!

The benefit of using laughter at this point, is it offers a very real release from this analytical thinking/dwelling.  In short, it is impossible to be stressed and logical whilst you’re rolling on the floor in side-splitting laughter!

It is the physical activity of laughter that transmits a stress-release signal (endorphins) which finally quietens down our stressy logical thought process and allows us to access the creative right side of our brain and allow creative solutions to appear!

Not convinced?   Well you can evidence this yourself – after all how often do you just dwell on a problem and get nowhere, but as soon as you stop thinking about it, or move on to deal with something else, the solution pops into your mind?

Lighten up stress – use laughter to get out of a brain-spin

So next time you’re in a brain-spin, and desperately seeking a solution, try lightening up instead.  Take yourself out of the stressed situation – watch a funny YouTube clip, or enjoy a laugh with a friend on the phone, and allow yourself to become totally immersed in the humour of the moment. The aim here is to completely forget what you were worried about. Stress and laughter work on opposite sides of the brain (stress on the left, thinking side, and laughter on the right creative side) so stop stress with a laugh to give your creative right brain the respite to come up with the solution.  So have fun for as long as you can, and when you finally choose to return to the problem, chances are the answer will either pop up out of the blue, or the scale of the problem will seem to have shrunk to a more manageable size – and either way that’s a great result!

 

Prioritising to win at the game of life

Father and daughter enjoying life and laughter

I’ve just been watching an amazing video on TED (the usual source of all things inspiring!). This particular video, by Jane McGonigal, is called “The game that can give you 10 extra years of life”. In fact I loved it so much that I really don’t mind if you pootle over to it right now and watch it. Because what really matters is not where you get the information from – but that you “get” the information!

Now you may start off watching this video, and glance at the bottom of the screen where you can see the running time is 19 minutes! Ouch, that’s a chunk out of a working day! Suddenly you get thoughts

like “I can’t waste my time sitting around watching some woman talk about video games – I have so much work to do”. Well let me urge you to indulge yourself and watch on!

I promise something magical happens. Yes, you’ll get what she promises (spoiler alert!) but in addition, this little video is the sweetest, most subtle reminder of priorities that I’ve seen for some time. And let’s face it, we need reminding!

Father and daughter enjoying life and laughter

You see, whilst the government is experimenting on the economy, and making cuts to services and wages, and the media is bustling and bristling with indignation, fury and exposes, we’re constantly being fed a menu of “fear and urgency”. Of course it’s in the government and bankers’ favour to have us all running around trying to make as much money as possible… they get the tax from every £1 we earn, and the longer we earn it for (think delaying pensionable age). But is it in our own interest?

The stress and overload of work, or the stress of no-work simply cannot be a good thing. As McGonigal rightly points out, the lessons we learn from others on their deathbeds, quite literally, have never been “I should have worked more hours”…

Of course, there are complex reasons why we are all working so hard and so much. After all we didn’t get to be the 3rd out of 28, in the “longest hours worked in Europe league table” overnight. It’s evidently been in our systems for some time and it’s not likely to disappear quickly. But there are things we can do to help.

Feedback to your boss if you feel you have too much stress. If they don’t know about it, then they can’t help you. Remember if you accept additional work that is putting you under stress and strain, then you are colluding with the establishment and perpetrating the culture of “must work longer and harder”.

Enjoy your work. OK, for some of us that may sound like tough one, and I don’t mean to be flippant. So assuming that you cannot change or leave your job for whatever reason, at least there are measures that might help you even if you absolutely hate your work. Firstly dwell on the good bits. Moaning about the bad stuff just makes them seem even worse, whereas thinking about the positive bits (the pay, your nice colleague, the view from the window, the fact that you have a window!) can make work seem a lot more pleasant. Remember wherever your focus goes – grows!

Put on a cheerful face. There’s numerous studies that show that if you’re smiling and looking happy, you can trick yourself into believing you really are happy. Even a fake smile will do the job. Just grin and bear it!

Take every opportunity to laugh. Laughter is the ultimate in stress release and stress relief. Good hearty laughter for 15-20 minutes a day will help you release endorphins, reduce cortisol, improve your mood, enhance your self-esteem, improve your connectivity to others.

…. and it’s proven time and again, that people who are more smiley, positive and happy-looking are more likely to get the better jobs, as people would prefer to work with them.

And finally, take McGonigal’s advice, do all the things she suggests in her video – because you can, and because they are fun… But a word of warning before you start, please ask yourself what are you going to do with an extra ten years of life? I wonder how many people will think “when I retire, I’ll have an extra 10 years to enjoy life, spend time with friends and family, and play more”

And I’d like to ask – why wait? On exactly what date does that extra 10 years start? I’d suggest it should start TODAY!

Here’s the link to that video:  http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal

Life Chances. We need to act sooner for our teenagers.

Life Chances. We need to act sooner for our teenagers.

 

Recent surveys and news isn’t great for the youth of our nation, particularly for those who are teenagers now.  Isn’t it time then to be proactive and do the best we can to ensure that future teenagers are better ‘equipped’ from a younger age to deal with their life rather than sit back and wait for them to reach a crisis point?

Surveys and news…

  • 1 in 5 children has symptoms of depression according to a recent YouGov Survey (July 2013) and almost one third of 16 to 25 year olds has thought about or attempted suicide.

– For Secondary teachers that could be 6 of the Year 11’s in your class.

  • Some 34% of 2,300 16 to 25-year-olds with poor GCSE grades polled for The Prince’s Trust charity believed they would “end up on benefits”. (Source BBC News August 2013)

 

  • Children Society Data re well-being of 8 to 15 year olds (July 2013) cites that well-being is declining in early teenage years and that the low point is age 15.

There’s a relationship between well-being and longer term outcomes/life chances.  If we invest in the well-being of our children from an early age and continue this investment throughout their school career then we would hope that better life chances are within their reach.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have our spirits raised by some positive statistics?

Surely everyone who works with children and young people wants to try and positively impact their life chances.  We aim for everything, from experiences and opportunities to the relationships they develop to be the best for each and every one of them.  We want them to aspire to achieve their potential throughout their lives.  Whatever input we have in children’s teaching and learning at whatever stage needs to set them up for life as it happens now and for the future.  This has to be recognised as a shared responsibility between all settings.  It is essential for us all to understand and respond to the needs of the whole child.  Education needs to stop being driven by academic standards alone.

SEAL

Many primary schools use the *SEAL (Social, Emotional Aspects of Learning) learning and teaching framework to develop all children’s social, emotional and behavioural skills.  This resource has 5 broad aspects – self awareness, managing feelings, motivation, empathy and social skills.  For any social, emotional and behavioural learning and teaching framework to be successful it needs to involve the whole setting/community.  Our settings need to have good role models if we are to positively influence the social, emotional and behaviour choices our children make.  This is sure to help them achieve better outcomes in the here and now, and in the longer term.

We regularly hear in the news or have first-hand experience of children who are growing up in difficult circumstances, possibly in complicated families with strained relationships.  Family breakdowns are occurring at very young ages for some of our children and they need support to understand and express their emotions.  Building up emotional resilience is tough for adults let alone young children.  It is ever more important that we help them to develop their social, emotional and behavioural skills if they are to thrive.

**Nef’s  (new economics foundation) 5 Ways to Well-being for adults are connect, be active, take notice, keep learning, creativity & play and give.  Those in bold text have been found by the Children’s Society in their Good Childhood Report 2013 to be relevant for children.  If we embrace these daily with children then they’ll develop good habits, growing up and maturing to be mentally and physically healthy.  This is sure to impact their life chances.

Remember that relationship between well-being and life chances?  Everyone’s life chances are affected by levels of self-esteem, self-confidence, perseverance, resilience, morale and relationships.  Let’s use well-being initiatives for our children to grow these skills from a young age so that they’ll have a more positive outlook ahead of them.

 

*These social and emotional aspects of learning can be found in the Primary National Strategy’s core professional development materials Excellence and enjoyment: learning and teaching in the primary years (DfES 0518-2004-G). The SEAL curriculum resource provides additional support for schools that are using this learning and teaching framework. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130401151715/https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/SEAL%20Guidance%202005.pdf

 

** http://www.neweconomics.org/search?q=well+being&submit-btn=%E2%96%B6

Why are Dutch children the happiest in the world?

What is it that makes Dutch children the happiest in the world?

That’s what we all want to know following the announcement in April 2013!  This was the finding in ‘The Child Well-Being in Rich Countries: A Comparative Overview’ by UNICEF, which included children up to age 19.  The 2013 report analyses figures from the years 2009 to 2010.  It’s the second report of its kind, the previous one being in 2007 where Dutch children were at the top.  http://www.unicef.org.uk/Images/Campaigns/FINAL_RC11-ENG-LORES-fnl2.pdf

The study measures development according to five dimensions of children’s lives – material well-being, health and safety, education, behaviour and risks, and housing and environment.

Top 20 rankings of well-being of children in developed countries

1. Netherlands

2. Norway

3. Iceland

4. Finland

5. Sweden

6. Germany

7. Luxembourg

8. Switzerland

9. Belgium

10. Ireland

11. Denmark

12. Slovenia

13. France

14. Czech Republic

15. Portugal

16. United Kingdom

17. Canada

18. Austria

19. Spain

20. Hungary

 

The Netherlands is the only country that ranked in the top 5 for all of the five dimensions of child well-being.

When well-being was evaluated by its children, 95% of them rated their own lives above the mid-point of the Life Satisfaction Scale.  A far higher percentage than children in any of the other countries.

It is thought that the reasons for their happiness stem from…

  • The Netherlands being a small affluent country, very democratic and free.
  • Good relationships with parents.  Dutch parents, when compared to parents in other countries have a more relaxed attitude so ‘problems’ appear as less of an issue or problem for them.
  • A tendency for mothers with young children to raise them.  The percentage of mothers with young children in the labour force is significantly lower than in other comparable countries.  Many mothers take a long time off work after their children are born.  Because of this Dutch children grow up in a highly protective and positive caring environment.
  • A very good education system.  Less pressure being put on children at school.

This freedom and education is believed to be what leads Dutch children and parents to make the right choices.  Could this be why their children to continue to be the HAPPIEST in the World?

Laughter Yoga and Well-being (CLANG!)

We believe Laughter is firmly part of a great well-being process! We’ll explain why and how later, but first let’s look at the 5 ways to Well-Being.*   Here’s some great information from NEF (New Economics Foundation)

CLANG!

1. Connect…

With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

2. keep Learning…

Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.

3. be Active…

Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

4. take Notice…

Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

5. Give …

Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, as linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.

 

(Taken from the booklet ‘Taking Steps towards Living Well – A Personal Guide to the 5 Ways to well-Being’ a Devon Partnership NHS Trust initiative) http://www.devonpartnership.nhs.uk/fileadmin/user_upload/publications/zoln/5_ways_self_help_booklet_read_version.pdf

 

Why Laughter Yoga is at the heart of these 5 ways to Well-Being….

 

  • Laughter Yoga is a group activity.  Being with laughing people and experiencing their laughter makes it easier for you to laugh.  Laughter Yoga sessions give you opportunities to effortlessly Connect with others.
  • Laughter Yoga might be the something new for you to try out so that you keep Learning.  It’ll certainly be fun and may lead you to even more new learning opportunities.
  • By doing Laughter Yoga you’re being Active.  It’s a good aerobic exercise providing a mid-body workout.  Did you know that the aerobic benefit of 1 minute of hearty laughing (deep belly laughing from the depths of your diaphragm) is equivalent to 10 minutes of rowing or jogging?
  • LY sessions are all about you taking Notice – letting go and responding to your feelings.  Laughter exercises can help you to reflect on experiences and learn from them.  Laughter meditation opens up the layers of your subconscious mind with laughter flowing spontaneously and effortlessly.  Relaxation exercises focus your mind and remind you about the greatness of you, your body and the world around you.
  • At every session you are Giving to those around you – establishing eye contact, smiling and laughing and positively affirming each other as a group by chanting and clapping ‘very good, very good, YAY!’  If you share your laughter yoga skills and experiences with those outside of your group then you’re giving again.

We think you’ll agree that Laughter Yoga ticks all the well-being boxes!

 Laugh and CLANG!

*The ‘5 ways to wellbeing’ were developed as evidence-based mental health promotion messages

by the new economics foundation at the request of the Government’s Department of Science for

the Foresight Mental Capital and Wellbeing Project (2008) www.neweconomics.org

Is humanity getting LESS intelligent?

Is mankind getting less intelligent

I’ve just read a particularly interesting article by a Stanford Geneticist (RT.com, 19/2/2013). It states that our human intelligence is genetically declining and humans were more intelligent 3000 years ago, I wondered how many of us would agree?After all, don’t we enjoy computers, technology, cars, a higher standard of living and health than 3000 years ago? Well perhaps…

But given what our predecessors had to deal with, between 4000 and 1000BC, it’s not so surprising that their intelligence had to be so much higher than ours today.

Is mankind getting less intelligent

The weapons may be more sophisticated, but were prehistoric warriors more intelligent than today?

I wonder, are we crediting ourselves (individually) for too much intelligence today? We can use a computer – but that’s simply a set of instructions. However could we track and hunt down a deer, stay safe in a wilderness, know what plants to eat, communicate with a hostile tribe in a different language? Perhaps it’s high time we stopped patting ourselves on the back for getting to grips with that new smartphone so quickly, and look to what “real intelligence” is instead.

Our first initiative, perhaps, is to really consider exactly what “intelligence” is. IS it, as so often promoted – a set of qualifications showing an academic aptitude? Does that ability to learn and recall truly deserve the accolade of “intelligence”?

Or is “intelligence” a less definable entity? More recently IQ has been joined by EQ, the Emotional Quotient. A way to measure our ability to empathise.

But what about our other abilities? Our Creative Quotient? Our Intuitive Quotient? Our Physical Quotient? Is it simply that our academic system chooses not to measure these areas, or that our political systems finds them too difficult to tax.

In the past, our ancestors undoubtedly enjoyed numerous outlets for their creativity to solve problems and pass the time, their intuition: where the herds were grazing today. And their physical abilities, simply staying alive. A close look at the arts and lifestyles of these people shows a high level of play, creativity and collaboration. Something else that is seriously missing today.

According to the article, the doctor from Stanford claims, “humans were at their most intelligent when every individual was exposed to nature’s raw selective mechanisms on a daily basis.” Under those conditions, adaption, he argued, was much more of a matter than fight or flight. Rather, says the scientists, it was a sink or swim situation for generations upon generations.

It seems impossible to imagine a return to the harsh living conditions of our predecessors, but I suggest that there’s at least one area that we can achieve. Perhaps now is the time to consider the low-tech lifestyle benefits of our predecessors – and reconnect with each other. Perhaps we could start by putting our smartphones down for a minute or two and adding more active play and laughter into our lives.

Laughter, fun and technology – truly the best of all worlds. Let’s start now! Because if we can’t understand the benefits today – it sounds like our own ancestors certainly won’t be intelligent enough to see it in the future.

Devon Laughter Yoga

Devon Training company, Creative Laughter, specialises in Devon Laughter Yoga training and facilitation, and stress management.

”We don’t laugh because we’re happy, we’re happy because we laugh”

Loving Devon Laughter Yoga, great for the mind and body

Laughter Yoga, and indeed Laughter, has many benefits.   It can help you relax, reduce stress, feel better, enhance your mood, reduce pain, boost your productivity, enhance your resilience, support you in times of stress or turmoil, help you connect to others, improve relationships and even increase your creativity!

Devon Laughter Yoga works!

Laughter Yoga is a unique concept, bringing together laughter exercises with deep yogic breathing. Laughter and Laughter Yoga are perfect for everyone who loves to laugh, and great for people who feel they don’t laugh enough, or even those who have lost their laughter.

There are no “yoga poses”, no lycra or leotards, and it’s suitable for all ages and

Video describing laughter yoga

What is Laughter Yoga? Watch our recent interview here.

levels of fitness (OK, there are a few situations where it’s not recommended – eg after recent surgery – find out more here!).

You can enjoy Laughter Yoga standing, moving around, seated on a chair or even lying down. Laughter Yoga exercises can be done at work, in groups or alone.  Once learned, Laughter Yoga can be designed to fit in with your own lifestyle, commitments, and enjoyed at your own pace.

Enjoy Laughter Yoga for yourself

Come along to one of our Devon Laughter Yoga clubs, and meet some great new people, and leave smiling and feeling amazing! Come alone or bring a friend and enjoy our laughter session together.  For more information on our social clubs, please contact us

Devon Laughter Yoga Leader Training

You can learn Laughter Yoga, and become a certificated leader, so you can create your own laughter clubs, use it in your therapy or training business, or just enjoy Laughter Yoga yourself.

Video testimonials for Laughter Yoga Leader training Devon

Video Testimonials for Laughter Yoga Leader Training

Laughter Yoga Leader and facilitation training is how available here in South Devon with training dates throughout 2013, and fully endorsed two-day training programmes. Check out our training dates here.

And watch our testimonial videos here>>>>>

 

LAUGHTER YOGA NEXT TRAINING DATES

All dates from 10am to 4pm

‘Laugh and Let Go’ Stress Management workshop

  • Next date for open courses to be advised.  For groups of 6+ people, I am happy to come to you to deliver a bespoke course.

Creative Laughter is based in Dawlish, South Devon, and offers training and laughter facilitation throughout Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, the South West UK and the midlands.