Laughter therapy is a type of psychotherapeutic technique that allows to improve the physical, psychological and emotional state of people through laughter thanks to its multiple benefits.
Laughter is an innate biological response that we can already experience as babies, spontaneously or through imitation. As a person becomes an adult, their ability to laugh decreases considerably, due to multiple reasons such as daily demands, worries, stress, etc. We allow ourselves less and less space for play or fun “because of lack of time” or because “we are no longer old enough”.
The moment a person is immersed in this system of functioning, different pathological symptoms usually begin to manifest themselves, such as chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, among many other factors, and it is here that laughter therapy can be considered as a tool to eradicate/decrease all these symptoms.
Nowadays many people come to therapy with the need to manage these situations, but in this article we are going to talk specifically about the female gender and about why laughter therapy can benefit women in particular .
Laughter therapy applied to women
Women are more vulnerable to emotional disorders due to biological or social issues; they experience numerous hormonal changes, experiences such as maternity, family-work conciliation, menopause, and in general they tend to be more prone to worries, stress, etc.
In consultation we met many women who feel that they “must” be effective in all possible aspects : being a good mother and reconciling with work, growing professionally, looking good, pleasing others and having many concerns under control as a result of social pressures, insecurities, education received, beliefs a person has about herself or about life, etc.
Many women demand more of themselves than they can afford, without allowing themselves to make mistakes , constantly comparing themselves, clinging to the past or the future, without a space of time for themselves, and therefore neglecting something extremely important, enjoying the present, living life.
What is a laughter therapy workshop?
The fundamental objective is to connect with our inner child through play, body expression dynamics and techniques that evoke laughter , to leave aside our demanding side, the one that worries, the one that doesn’t have fun and represses itself.
A session of laughter therapy is carried out in a group and usually lasts between one and two hours ; during this time, relaxation techniques and stretching are applied at the same time, as we exercise numerous muscles throughout the body.
Some benefits of laughter
Here you will find several examples of how laughing is good for our well-being .
- It helps reduce stress levels by decreasing the amount of cortisol in the blood.
- It induces a positive mood by secreting endorphins (known as happiness hormones).
- Improves blood and arterial circulation, promoting the proper functioning of the heart.
- It improves the immune system, prevents illness and aids recovery.
- It generates positive thoughts, due to the incompatibility of laughing and thinking negatively at the same time.
- It improves interpersonal relationships, encouraging the generation of links and friendships.
- It helps to manage the hormonal changes, alleviating the associated symptomatology.
- Physical exercise is practiced, since laughing about 100 times is equivalent to 10 minutes of aerobic exercise.
Why Laughter Therapy Empowers Women
These are some of the ways in which laughter therapy brings autonomy and empowerment to women .
On the one hand, allows her to get in touch with her most genuine part , her inner child, to allow herself to laugh, play, sing, dance… In this way, tensions and worries are released.
In addition, it helps to heal self-esteem by overcoming fears such as fear of meeting new people, of making a fool of oneself, or of being oneself, thus allowing you to improve your self-concept (the image you have of yourself). In the process, she improves her social and communication skills.
Laughter also helps to induce positive moods , thus making it possible to improve the course of depressive and anxious emotional disorders. By decreasing the side effects of stress, the creative capacity improves, and this allows for more effective solutions to daily conflicts.
On the other hand, by means of laughter therapy one trains good humour and optimism , and learns to relativise and take another perspective on life.
Finally, through the therapeutic group, affective bonds are generated , feeling that one is not alone and that many women are in similar situations.
To choose laughter therapy as a therapeutic tool is to give an opportunity to change , to open the doors to optimism, to positivity, to fun. It is the path to happiness and longevity, without neglecting that happiness is not the absence of problems; we do not have the control to change what happens to us but the perspective and attitude with which we face them.
Author: Alba Cabello Rodríguez, psychologist, responsible for the area of Coaching, NLP and emotional intelligence of Psicotools .