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Gifts Laughter Offers To People With Disabilities

Any disability can be experienced as a huge challenge and be hard to live and deal with. Impacted people have to (re)discover themselves and find different ways to fulfill their dreams without slipping into the realms of depression and frustration. It is easy when faced with intense adversity to let oneself experience more intense negative feelings and emotions, yet these undermine one’s rationality and give rise to confusing mindsets regarding one’s own image and capabilities. What usually follows is an all time low and sensations of self pity and loss of worthless set in.

Here are some of the reasons how refreshing therapeutic approaches to laughter such as Laughter Wellness and Laughter Yoga help people with disabilities.

It’s easy to do!

Many people with a physical disability are sometimes unable to move parts of their body without regular physiotherapy exercises. Due to lowered mental functions, they often find it difficult to follow commands properly. Anecdotal evidence suggests that laughter sessions help people in this situation be much more compliant with physiotherapy commands, leading to notable physical improvement in motor functions. Also, because the exercise revolves around laughter all physical challenges are approached positively. Participants do the best they can physically and always feel they succeed because they are invited to laugh on their own terms, and that’s always a win (if you can breathe, you can laugh).

Relieves pain

Laughter triggers the release of a natural opiate called endorphin into our bloodstream. While this usually provides an immediate pain relief that’s either partial or full, what is worth noting is that people’s relationship with pain “shifts” as they find that they can laugh about what before was a source of physical and emotional pain. This simple realization is sometimes life changing. Read more about how laughter relieves pain.

Dissipates anger

Life is not fair, and neither are physical disabilities. Why me? is a nagging question many people with disability ask themselves sooner or later. Trying to live with a disability can be very frustrating as it forces one to be dependent on others. “Choosing to laugh” is an approach to voluntary simulated laughter that focuses on the exhalation, “letting go”, and through this helps people focus on what is here, now, with a positive attitude. It is an ideal exercise that helps people be at peace with who they are, as they are, always now. (Read more about why laughter is good for mental health, breaks cycle of psychological negativity.)

Alleviates sadness and depression

People with disabilities often find it hard to express their feelings and emotions and are therefore more prone to depression. Read more about why laughter scares depression, anxiety, boosts moodstates.

Dispels fear

It is natural to experience a certain amount of fear in the face of physical disability. But when this fear takes on an unbearable dimension, it can lead to severe damage to the psyche. Therapeutic approaches to laughter such as Laughter Wellness and Laughter Yoga provide an immediate feeling of safety and security. This may be due to the effects of endorphins, natural opiates (these help to overcome fear and anxiety) but also to the fact that it forces an experiential shift from the belief that laughter is nowhere, to the realization that laughter is now here (if you can breathe, you can choose to laugh), and therefore a shift in attitude from “I can’t” (which justifies inaction) into “I can” (which opens the door to action and change). Choosing to laugh is choosing to live.

Lowers stress and anxiety

Any form of disability can be the cause of immense stress and anxiety. Frustration anger, aggressive behavior and irrational logic overcome the power of reasoning. Laughter has been shown scientifically to provide a substantial and immediate reduction in stress levels as it lowers stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine and enhances the levels of health hormones and neuropeptides that alleviate the negative symptoms of stress within minutes. Read more Why more laughter = less stress = better health and more energy.

Helps to safely express emotions

Physical incapacity can put people in a state of shock and trauma. There is not just the physical pain but a mental denial that can lead to blockage of feelings and an inability to express one’s emotions freely. The group dynamics in Laughter Wellness and Laughter Yoga sessions lead to more openness and help people to share their grief. The exercises and the deep breathing relax the body and the mind and assist one to accept reality. They are a safe haven for people to release their inner feelings without fear and pain.

 Experience and learn with leading experts

We are leading experts in therapeutic laughter with over a decade of hands-on experience teaching on 4 continents and offer keynotes, seminars, workshops and specialist trainings worldwide! Contact us for more information.

Learn how to share joy and laughter with others! Here is the first step

2016-02-03T19:55:49+00:00 Benefits Of Laughter|

About the Author:

Sebastien Gendry is an American expert on laughter and how to unlock its many benefits to promote wellness and wellbeing in everyday life, at home and at work. A work-related burnout and ensuing journey towards recovery led him to discover and fall in love with the world of therapeutic laughter in the early 2000s. He has since traveled close to one million miles over the past decade offering a variety of laughter and empowerment programs to 1,000s of people on four continents, and continues to do so. [Read more.]

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