Category Archives: resilience

What’s Joy got to do with it?

 

Joy: a sense of elation and ‘deep abiding’, a much deeper experience than happiness.
Is this important to you?
How can you activate yours?
How can you maintain it?

Joy energises our life and gives us a sense of purpose. It is important for its own sake but also because it activates qualities like acceptance, peace and connection, as well as resilience and presence of mind.
It has the potential to give us ‘lasting happiness in a changing world’.

In Integrative Medicine, joy is a recognised promoter of health and wellbeing.
Psychology shows how it contributes to our mental health.
In cancer care it is recognised as life-affirming.
In business, it is valued for its resilience and mindfulness qualities.

In brief, joy is recognised as an important contributor to a healthy, happy and fufilled life.
(‘The Joy Conference‘, Bristol 26th October, combines all these threads, and more.)

Laughter yoga can activate joy. It can be used to focus on joyfulness, and an excellent way to achieve this is to practice celebrating, especially celebrating being alive. The sense of elation and aliveness that accompanies this celebration automatically activates our sense of joy.

Simple celebration steps include smiling and laughter.
The practice of smiling is now a well recognised method of improving our mood. There have been many studies that demonstrate this beyond all doubt, including those done by Professor Frach and associates in 1988 with the pencil in the teeth study.
So, step 1 is to practice smiling more.

Self-initiated laughter is another good step. Children constantly laugh like this, just because. Adults can learn how to to do this again, particularly when using laughter as yoga. Although laughter yoga can be a group activity (which taps into the contagiousness of laughter), it is also a solo activity – laughing, just because. When we use this yogic approach, we learn to experience all the benefits of laughter whenever we choose.

A third step is to experience how we embody this.
The studies into body-mind communication show how we can alter our mood and mindset through embodiment and posture. We can celebrate more by adopting a celebrating posture.

The combined effect of these simple steps includes activating our joyfulness and bringing all its benefits into our life.

Further information

The Joy Conference 26th October, Bristol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is more information about Laughter yoga 

 

 

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Laughter yoga and moving mindfulness – joy in the present moment

 

Laughter yoga overlaps with mindfulness.
It also overlaps with embodiment.
Movement and embodiment are natural partners.
Together, they create a joy-filled combination for present-moment awareness.

 

 

 

Laughter practices can bring our attention instantly into the ‘Now’.
When we are laughing heartily, time shrinks or expands (take your pick), so that the only thing we are aware of is the present moment.

Therefore when used in this way, laughter practices are an excellent route into mindful awareness.

Movement and embodied awareness have the potential immediatly to end overthinking. When these are approached with inner awareness, and therefore the movement & sense of embodiment  come from within, attention immediately moves away from our thoughts. Our attention doesn’t just move into our body but it also moves into the present moment.
This is a different experience from merely being aware of our thoughts.

Another insight from laughter (and other psychological) practices is the effect of the smile. It has been established many times how the effect of a smile lifts our mood. It is a natural stress-buster and mood-lifter. It is the sister to the William James observation ‘We don’t laugh because we’re happy, we’re happy because we laugh’.

When we explore smiling practices, and in particular the feel of the inner smile, and combine this with embodiment and present-moment awareness, our ‘Now’ immediately feels different. Although the ‘Now’ is inherently joyful, when we add in smiling and laughter practices their combined effect enhances present-moment awareness surprisingly vividly.
With practice, these three aspects support each other like a three-legged stool.

One delightful aspect of this is that it doesn’t require an additional time commitment. We don’t have to sit for 20 minutes, three times a day, seven days a week, and learn a new practice.
All we need to is become aware, and add smiling, laughter and embodiment practices into how we already live our life.

Practice makes perfect.

It also makes joyful.

Information on the next session is here

Would you like the Move / Breathe / Smile video?
Email me joe @ joehoare . co . uk for your free copy

For more information, please visit www.joehoare.co.uk

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Social media driving you mad? How laughter yoga helps.

 

Do you sometimes find social media is a chaos-theory series of infinite rabbit holes? With distractions that spin off from distractions? Full of people being ‘wrong’?

Do you find sometimes you get sucked in?

Write hasty and ill-advised comments?

Lose your focus?

Do you want to change all this?

I have learnt to use my laughter yoga (almost!) all the time on social media and email.

Here’s how.

While laughter yoga is often viewed as a ‘Marigold Hotel’ slightly zany group activity – not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course – it can also be adapted into individual, pragmatic day-to-day working practices.

The key is figuring out how to turn group ‘laughter exercise’ activities into personal practices for computer work.

  • First, laughter does not have to be out loud. We can laugh silently, on the inside.
    With practice, it becomes something we feel. It has the capacity to lighten our mood. When we develop our awareness sufficiently that we realise we are getting distracted, losing our focus, getting fired up, we can use silent, internalised, invisible laughter to help us refocus and calm down.
    Why not do it now?
    Do a silent, invisible laugh now and see how you feel? Does it change your mood at all? Do you feel more present? Notice whatever you’re feeling.
    The more often we take the time to notice being present, the easier it becomes – even and especially on social media.
  • Smile.
    With practice, smiling triggers this same change in mindset.
    Smiling while writing helps prevent over-seriousness and over-thinking. Smiling exercises are core laughter yoga exercises and over time, help us re-wire our brains so we naturally and genuinely smile more.

    The relevance here is to remember to do this when at your computer. The smile can be gentle and almost imperceptible, a slight upward-turn at the corners of your mouth, a slight crinkling around your eyes, a slight lifting of your eyebrows. Fortunately, your brain recognises all these signals and responds accordingly, with among other things, a lifting of your mood.
    As before, why not do it now and observe any differences you experience?
  • Embodiment.
    Remember to be embodied. Moving deliberately and consciously aids embodiment, and transforms social media and computer time.
    How can we feel our embodiment while at our computer?
    Stretch. Any stretch will do. Just do it.
    Feel. Feel your feet, feel your ‘seat’. The practice is to be aware of these areas while on your computer. Wriggle your toes, move slightly on your chair, enough to be aware of sensations here – and notice any change in mindset.
  • Breathe.
    Remember to breathe. We are all likely to have heard this adage many times before.
    It is easy and sadly common for our breathing to become shallow, especially when at the computer. Remembering to take deep breaths, and from the belly, helps us refocus, break free from distraction and alleviate any over-thinking tendencies.
    It can also help calm us which is sometimes important?
    ‘Dance like no one is watching; email like it may one day be read aloud in a deposition’
    We all need to remember this sometimes?

The goal is to embed these practices into out psyche so that we start to use them unconsciously.

Here are some suggestions from my own practice:

  • Practice smiling continuously when composing an email.
  • Make a point of smiling and being aware of the soles of your feet while scrolling through your newsfeed.
  • Remember to smile and breathe deeply when receiving notifications.
  • Practice silent invisible laughter when replying to comments.
  • Mix and match these.

Contact me if you’d like a one-to-one to embed these techniques yourself if you want to use social media more effectively and productively.

[ As a core present-moment practice, I have a 2-minute Move / Breathe / Smile video.
Email me ( joe @ joehoare . co . uk) if you’d like a copy? ]

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[Learn more at www.joehoare.co.uk  ]

 

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