Laughter Yoga? Unique Stress Busters.

Laughter Yoga? Unique Stress Busters.

first_img 23 Views   no discussions Share Sharing is caring! Share Tweetcenter_img Share By Marianne BeachQuick–what’s your go to when you’re feeling stressed out? A glass of wine? A big burger with fries? A night vegging in front of the TV? Maybe a cigarette?Sure, any of these might relieve your stress in the short term. But abusing our bodies isn’t going to lead to lifelong peace and tranquility. And with more than 75 percent of us reporting some kind of stress every two weeks, we need to come up with some healthier stress relief techniques that are good for our bodies as well as our minds.So we hit up the experts for unique stress relief ideas you may not have heard of. First up? Laughter Yoga, a discipline started by a medical doctor in India and now practiced all over the world.“He came up with the idea to use laughter to really relieve stress related problems like high blood pressure, things like Type 2 Diabetes, depression – because he was looking for alternative ways of treating those problems.” explains Alex Eingorn, a chiropractor and Laughter Ambassador in New York City.A study by the American Physiological Society found even anticipating a laugh could produce endorphins and shut down production of the stress hormone cortisol. And experts say you don’t have to attend a laughter class to get the benefits–or even rent a funny movie.“You sit down and say I’m going to laugh now,” explains Claire Wheeler, MD, author of Ten Simple Solutions to Stress. “Before you know it though – you’re really laughing. And if I had an IV in your arm and was measuring the amount of cortisols and other stress hormones in your blood–I would see them go down dramatically.”As a bonus? Laughter is good for the body, too. With one study out of University of Maryland showing one minute of laughter as equivalent to six to ten minutes of rowing.“Laughter is very, very healthy. It’s very aerobic, it engages every single organ system in the body. There are certain core muscles that only get engaged when you’re laughing,” says Eingorn.But if you prefer a quieter, more meditative form of stress relief, you might try Tina Thonnings’ stress relief solution. Walking labyrinths.“This is an opportunity to reduce stress by being quiet,” she explains. “Oftentimes when I’m walking this labyrinth I don’t even remember what my worries were when I walked in as to when I came out. I’m not even thinking of them.”Tina has been walking labyrinths for twenty years, most recently guiding walkers at the Shepherd’s Corner labyrinth in Ohio, run by the Dominican Sisters of Peace. Unlike a maze, labyrinths only have one way in and one way out.“If you’re really burdened right then or coming from a stressful day, often you find that on the way in, you just kind of let go of that,” explains Sister Diane Kozlowski. “The psychologists say when you walk the labyrinth, your left brain gets engaged in following that path and that leaves your right brain free just for the intuitive to happen. So feelings can come forward, insights can come forward–things can just happen for you.”There are labyrinths all over the world and labyrinth locators on the Web can help you find one near you. But you can also reap some of the same benefits just by taking a meditative walk outside…leaving the iPod at home.But perhaps you’d prefer music to soothe the stressed out beast. Staffers like Cathleen Matthews  at Forest Hills Care Center get together regularly to drum away their stress.“I love music so I found the sound of the drums was relaxing and it’s fun to do it with your friends,” says Cathleen.The program’s coordinator, psychologist Robert Lawrence Friedman, president of Stress Relief Solutions, says he came up with the idea of “drumming away stress” back in 1993.“Drums served as a way for me to relieve my stress and so I wanted to see if it was possible for other people who were non drummers to also release their stress through the same means,” he explains. “What we’ve found is people are able to relieve their stress by just hitting a drum, by playing it. They stay in the moment, they’re in the here and now, and they’re able to get out some of their emotions and feelings just through their hands.”So does it work? Well, one study found those participants in an hour long drumming session experienced a reversal of stress hormones in their bloodstream. And best of all? You don’t have to attend a class to benefit.“Really it’s simply about releasing what’s inside and getting it out of you in a positive way,” says Friedman. “So it could be done with handheld instruments, with pots and pans, with really anything.”Ready to give stress relief a try? Well, whether you choose laughter, walking or drumming–or some other stress relief method entirely, Wheeler says it’s vital you pick something you enjoy doing, or it just won’t work.“It has to be something that you know you’ll feel better after you’ve done it and you really want to do it,” she insists. “Otherwise it’s just another chore and your life is going to be more stressful.”By: GALTime.com HealthLifestyle Laughter Yoga? Unique Stress Busters. by: – June 20, 2011last_img

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