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Laughter is the best medicine

Taking care of our mental health is something we take very seriously at Crossword so we were delighted to discover that laughter yoga is a not-at-all-serious, but easy, fun and silly way to do so.

It’s easy to pay lip service to all the hashtag and awareness days, Mental Health Awareness included, so it’s important to find and share fun and easy ways to take action. That’s why the Crossword team – part in person, part online – were excited to take part in their first laughter yoga session today, led by HR team member Rebecca Deller.

The concept of laughter yoga was started in India in 1995 by Dr Madan Kataria and involves prolonged voluntary laughter. This is usually done in groups with as much eye contact and silliness as possible, but can also be done at home alone. The idea is that the brain doesn’t know the difference between fake and real laughter and either way the physical and psychological benefits are the same: increased energy and less stress.

Why not give it a try? It’s a fun and memorable team activity and a way to learn additional techniques to help manage every day stresses and boost your mental health. You can also use the same techniques alone, perhaps to relieve pre-meeting anxiety or lift brain fog on a busy day.

Here's what you need to do. Find a space where you can stand up and move around freely; wear something comfortable and loose fitting if you can. Have a drink of water to hand.

Stretch your arms up. Breathe in.

Exhale, arms down and LAUGH OUT LOUD.

Fake it the first time, but we defy you keep a straight face after that.

Now do it again. And again. And again…

Giggly laughs. Booming laughs. Silly voices. Goofy actions.

Keep going. And some more.

Close your eyes. Now, how do you feel? Better? Yes, we did too.

Managing and maintaining our mental health is something we should always make time for. Even on the good days. Companies have an important role to play in encouraging their employees to do so. Laughter yoga is just one of many techniques and it is a great reminder that a serious and complex issue does not always require a serious and complex remedy. #MentalHealthAwareness


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