Whilst supporting the Macmillan Cancer Care Conference at Whittington Trust, we took part in a laughter workshop!
We were delighted to help support the recent Macmillan Cancer Care Conference held at Whittington NHS Trust. Ready and primed to have some big conversations and to support those who needed to have them.
As part of the day, there were a number of workshops that we could take part in, including one by Lotte Mikkelson, a laughter ambassador, who knew there was such a thing! So, how did a bunch of slightly reserved Brits cope with it?
We, a group of about 18 strangers, gathered together and Lotte introduced herself and explained why laughter is so important to our wellbeing. She told us that laughing releases endorphins in our system which can reduce stress and the perception of pain. This sounded like it was definitely something to take on board!
To begin, we created a circle and began breathing deeply. The next instruction was to let the breath out with a shout of ‘haha.’ Try that with a friend and you cannot help but chuckle or at least smile. I had started to become a bit giggly already, tremendous!
We were also encouraged to clap our hands as not only does this improve blood circulation, but it also activates certain parts of the brain that help with the process. I hope this makes you clap your hands whilst reading this!
The next thing was to introduce rhythm into this hand-clapping and ha-ha shouts, then to turn and face the person next to you. I challenge anyone to do that without actually laughing, whether at the other person or yourself! It’s a little bit awkward, which just seems to make it funnier.
Now that we all felt comfortable with each other we were asked to imagine a situation where we had just answered a spam phone call with a prolonged laugh, and when we had received a small gift. We chuckled into our hands before passing it along to the next person who found it equally amusing. It felt really good to enable someone else to have a bit of a chuckle.
We were taught a singing rhyme that consisted of just the same three words, either banana, mango, or kiwi. Dividing into groups, we sang ‘our’ fruit, culminating in all of us singing as loudly as possible to drown out the others. Banana, banana, BANANA! You get the drift.
All of these activities were finished with a deep breath as we raised our arms above our head and lowered our arms to release the breath. Of course, we had to clap our hands twice shouting ‘haha’ as well! This felt wonderful, the power of breathing combined with a giggly mood – I thoroughly recommend it.
One of the last things we did to encourage laughter in an already helplessly laughing group, was to sign our names with our hips. Lotte had previously introduced hip-swinging together with hand-clapping and toe-tapping. I really didn’t expect my day would involve some hip-action, but I swung mine with the best of them!
I can only imagine that for people with an illness, or just lonely folk who meet once a week, this would be a fantastic thing to try out. I found it really entertaining and I’d hope hugely beneficial to others wellbeing and general mood.
It still makes me laugh just thinking about it 😂
#laughtertherapy #laughyoursocksoff #lol #talkplanshare #thebigconversation