Inhibitions, Stress and Bringing Laughter Yoga to VCE Psychology Students.

Lynette Mitchell, Australia
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Sunday, 13 October 2013 16:28:05

Get out of your comfort zone - rewarding or stressful for you?

Who likes to get out of their comfort zone? It can be a rewarding experience to stretch yourself and the more that it becomes ‘normal’ the more comfortable you will be with unexpected things. The only constant thing in this world is change and every day is like a new day in your life, with things around you constantly changing. At times it is hard to get comfortable with your life situation and keep that familiarity. Do you agree with me?

Laughter yoga leader experience at secondary college.

Recently I was given the opportunity to provide three laughter yoga sessions for Beaconhills Secondary College at Berwick, which was from what I gathered, a top notch school. Specifically I was brought to share about laughter yoga and the benefits of it, Year 12 Psychology students. For those outside Australia, this is the final school year before university.

These students are presently under enormous pressure, reaching the final lap of their school life. Just think, ten or eleven counting preps, compounding into these last few weeks, studying hard, feverishly catching up on all this year’s work before exam time?

It was interesting and important for the psychology students to learn about other ways of dealing with stress and how to recognise it. Two of the groups were better prepared by their teacher in class, having learnt about the body’s responses to stress, encompassing breathing and relaxation techniques and biofeedback.

What was in it for me also was observing in the first two groups, how completely different they were because of the peer group dynamics, the first group having a strong leader, which was not the case in the second group. The teacher also observed this, commenting that she had expected one particular boy to step up and take that role.

The next week when I returned to do one more laughter yoga session, that group were also very well prepared by their teacher and I shared with her that I felt to stretch them and go a little deeper. I felt to encourage them to drastically get out of their comfort zone, if that was the case as is quite usual when we do something for the first time. Especially ‘laughing for no reason’ as laughter yoga is called and a lot of people get out of the habit of laughing and find it difficult to do without someone else telling a joke or funny story.

The teacher agreed and explained that she had been with some of them all their school lives, trusted her and would do what she asked of them. Interesting indeed because I asked them to observe their feelings at the start, might check half way through their session and at the end. This was different for me, as the kids were old enough to approach this laughter yoga session in a way that could enhance their learnings, being given opportunities to witness their feelings as never before. In particular I shared how the one group with the strong leader looked to him and the next one felt disempowered, not entirely joining in wholeheartedly. I suggested participating fully, choosing to as an exercise, even if it did feel strange and uncomfortable, not to say that it would, but most likely would start like that at least a little bit.

Well they were fantastic and when their attention lagged at one stage, I brought them back, reminded them of their agreement to participate as fully as they were able to and they then re-engaged with the exercises.

Towards the end another great example of how easy it is to lose focus, something that I am personally forever working on, staying focused with the intention to stick with things and not get distracted.

In came a student who was having a birthday. We sang happy birthday using ‘ha ha ha, instead of the words and in the next exercise, they didn’t get into it at all. I stopped them, pointed out how the energy dropped, asked if they felt it, which they did and said ‘let’s do it again and this time fully participate’. Well it was a complete turn around and proved a point or two.

After we finished the laughter meditation, which is lying or sitting relaxed with free laughter, we had time for a relaxation. This went down very well too, which surprised me as sometimes children/people can even get uncomfortable with being still, quiet ‘doing nothing’ and start to giggle, distracting those who really want to simply relax their body, mind and emotions.

Don't Keep Laughter Yoga a Secret!

In time I would love to hear from and work with all schools keen to bring laughter yoga to their schools, for children and staff. Please pass the link on to friends and colleagues in the school system and help spread the positive words of laughter yoga in schools.

It is tailor made, according to the school’s requirements, whether it be sharing laughter with relaxation, meditation, affirmations, games etc. I personally feel the world would be a better place for children to keep up the habit of laughter. Also learning the benefits to be had and holding on to this most precious and natural gift, as it sure is easy to lose it as we get older and so much harder to bring something back once it is gone. Many of you will be nodding your heads in agreement with me right there.

Thanks for reading, sharing and I am sending out lots of love, light and laughter blessings.

Lynette Mitchell xxx ooo

Last Updated ( Sunday, 13 October 2013 16:28:05 )
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