Top 9 Laughter Therapy Exercises

Top 9 Laughter Therapy Exercises
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 02-03-2023

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We have all heard the common saying in our early years that “Laughter is the best medicine”. As youngsters, we never understood the true meaning of this phrase. Laughter therapy has scientific evidence that shows its benefits. Laughter helps to enhance our moods, improves our immune system, and acts as a buffer from the negative effects of stress and anxiety.

There are several changes that occur instantly as we laugh and laughter is the easiest way to trick our brains. If you start laughing during an anxious situation, your brain releases healthy hormones such as endorphins and stops the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine (Yim, 2016).

Laughter therapy is the easiest form of therapy that you can do without burning a hole in your pocket. In fact, everyone should,  daily indulge in laughter therapy or some kind of online therapy every week. Therapeutic laughter has been shown to have a positive impact on our mental health (Mora-Ripoll, 2010). 

Here is how you can indulge in simulated laughter therapy:

Stages of laughter therapy

  1. Warming up and opening This helps in rescuing the laughter that is blocked.

  2. Experiencing humor and positive emotions This includes emotional wellness, and physical workout, and adds playful behaviors.

  3. Closure, recovery, and evaluation This is where you choose to let go and simply laugh, and laughter meditate.

Types of laughter exercises you can do alone or with a group of friends:

  1. Hold-on Laughter- Hold your breath and burst out laughing when you can’t hold it any longer.

  2. Gradient Laughter- First smile, then chuckle, giggle after that, then laugh slowly and gradually increase your volume and tempo.

  3. Hearty Laughter- Open up your arms, raise your arms, and laugh from your whole heart. Bring your hands down and stop, again raise your arms, and laugh. Repeat this.

  4. Nonsense Laughter- Talk in made-up words (gibberish) and laugh about it.

  5. Laughter counting- Gradually increase your laugh count. Ha, Ha-ha, Hahaha...

  6. Arts Laughter- Imitate someone, dance in a funny way, sing like a child, and laugh about it.

  7. Hugging Laughter- Hug someone and laugh together.

  8. Silent Laughter- Be completely still and silent, sit or lie down and close your eyes. Take your time and laugh naturally.

  9. Scenario Laughter- Think about funny events that had taken place. Remember an embarrassing moment and laugh it out.

Online counselling experts suggest laughter therapy exercises in association with other therapeutic measures are a good method for enhancing one’s mental health.

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Yim, J. (2016). Therapeutic benefits of laughter in mental health: a theoretical review. The Tohoku journal of experimental medicine, 239(3), 243-249.

Mora-Ripoll, R. (2017). Simulated laughter techniques for therapeutic use in mental healthJournal of Psychology and Clinical Psychiatry, 8(2), 00479.

Mora-Ripoll, R. (2010). The therapeutic value of laughter in medicine. Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine, 16(6): 56-64.

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