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Laughter Therapy: is it a middle class privilege?

Written by Lifestyle

Laughter is no joke when it comes to health and well-being. It is probably one of the most naturally cathartic things we can do as humans. It is proven to lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormone levels, trigger the release of endorphins, burn calories, produce a real sense of general well-being, improve immunity… I could go on.

Often in times of stress, adversity or when things seem beyond our control, an easy thing to do is laugh. Now although anyone can laugh, labeling it a therapy has led to a question of authenticity and accessibility. Arguably within the last decade, laughter therapy has become more and more of a legitimate health practice, however it only becomes a middle class privilege when a price tag is placed on it under the guise of “therapy” or “yoga”.

Laughter therapy is a growing industry with more and more people signing up for it

Laughter therapy is a growing industry with more and more people signing up for it. According to The Independent, “The UK’s Laughter Network … has more than tripled in membership since it was launched nine years ago.” By capitalising on laughter, it is not only exclusionary to other classes that can’t afford the sessions, but more significantly it perhaps speaks a bit more to why and who the people are that are making such an investment.

Laughter yoga sessions can be free, but can also cost a pretty penny, starting around £10 per hour. I would be reluctant to say it is entirely a middle class privilege because more often than not they are free sessions, but the very concept of putting a price on laughter lessons is a middle class ideology that is somewhat ridiculous. Unfortunately, such capitalisation is a reflection on the otherwise melancholy and laughter-less society we live in, so much so that people actually feel the need to pay to access a space in which they can escape their daily plights and teach themselves to laugh more easily. 

5 (free) ways to find reasons for laughter:

  • Make it a daily goal

Ensure at the end of every day, you can recall a moment when you laughed. Immerse yourself in a portal of memes and GIFs or watch a funny television show or film etc.

Talking is just as therapeutic as laughter, and often talking through situations with other people can turn a negative into a positive

  • Surround yourself with friends or funny people

Laughter is incredibly contagious. Try to spend more time with people that have hilarious and good vibes. If you always surround yourself with people who are negative vibes, inevitably they will bring down your general energy and give less reasons to laugh.

  • Talk to people

Talking is just as therapeutic as laughter in my opinion, and often talking through certain situations with other people can help to turn a negative into a positive or help to see the brighter and lighter side of things. Sometimes we need an objective voice to help us get some perspective and laugh in the face of adversity.

  • Enjoy being in the moment

Have a games night with your favorite people or watch a comedy classic. It is so easy to get bound up in our heads and distract ourselves in our thoughts instead of enjoying ourselves. Take a moment to bring yourself back to reality. Pick up on what is going on around you. Immerse yourself in the present conversations and pick up on people’s positive energies.

Last modified: 23rd March 2020

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