Robin Graham

Why we have laughter events

Here are five reasons why we have Laughter Events!

A. To allow ourselves to "play" again.

As we "grew up," did we stop playing, laughing and crying?

It is natural to play. It is how, as a child, we find out about the world we live in. There is always more to learn about our lives. We can review our world, and the relationships we have within it, by stepping back and looking at ourselves. When we feel it is safe, we can relax our rigid guidelines for living, and stop taking life so seriously.

As a child, it is also natural to laugh and to cry.

In a Laughter Session, we can experiment with play, laughter and tears once again.

B. To challenge our inhibitions

Our greatest inhibitor is ourselves. We believe that we cannot or should not do something. So we stop ourselves. Often this is because we are protecting ourselves from getting hurt. It is important that we protect ourselves.

However, we use the values that we have been taught to decide what we allow ourselves to do. We have been taught by teachers, parents, the media and television, religious people and our peers.

The trouble is that all these people have their own issues and problems in life, and their own inhibitions. When a parent tells a child not to laugh, it may be to hide their own shame or guilt or pain, or simply that they are having a bad day or difficult time. When someone says "don't cry", it may be because they do not like to see anyone else hurting - maybe because they themselves are hurting. But people often don't realise that crying may be exactly what someone needs for them to continue to heal themselves.

So we carry inhibitions because of what other people think and feel, rather than allowing ourselves to think and feel for ourselves.

By laughing at Laughter Events, we can challenge our inhibitions.

C. To let go of stresses and tensions

We cry or laugh at things that happening around us as a response to a trigger. Maybe we are laughing out of relief because it is someone else who is having misfortune, or looking stupid, or making mistakes. Or maybe it is a sense of relief that a difficult situation has come to a temporary or permanent end. Or maybe we laugh because something is out of place, or incongruous, or doesn't logically follow.

We might laugh at a funeral, or when someone tells us that their pet hamster died in the washing machine. We may burst our laughing when someone who is showing off falls over on a banana skin.

Every time we laugh, we are letting go of the discomfort associated with the trigger action.

So if we can laugh for no reason at all, maybe we can release some extra suppressed emotions in advance. We can shake away some of our worries. We can get rid of some of our "baggage."

D. To witness each other, and enjoy the company of others

In a group, we can challenge and overcome our shyness, and learn to relax together. We can witness other people laughing, and laugh with them. It is easy, pleasurable and very sociable to laugh in a group!

E. We can improve our physical well-being.

There are more details of this later.

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