I just received tragic news from close friends.
A parent’s/family’s worst nightmare. The loss of a child’s life to suicide. Alex, 18 years old and just about to graduate.
Teen and college suicide is on the increase and it is heartbreaking to hear of yet another loss. It’s becoming an epidemic. Who doesn’t know someone who died by suicide? The pain of losing someone is gut wrenching and raw and remains over the years. We who remain, mourning our loved ones, walk around with scar tissue of the heart that we feel whenever we remember those lost too soon.
The agony that the person went through before they made their decision is devastating. What can be done to prevent suicide? These are questions that remain unanswered, yet there are steps, ways to manage the feelings that build up to the decision and act.
While those that scoff at Laughter Yoga see it as frivolous, practicing Laughter Yogis can attest to the power of daily, mindful and unconditional laughter. Laughter Yoga professionals all over the world are able to reach younger demographics to plant the seed and teach resiliency tools. Many people don’t realize that Laughter Yoga combines laughter exercises, yogic breathwork and mindfulness meditation. The combination of these three elements is stimulating, life affirming and powerful.
Today, I received this testimonial from one of my leaders (training 9/172017), Hana Nan Halper: “I have implemented the Laughter Yoga practice in my Head Start class everyday!
The impact has been enormous. The students love to do it and Laughter Yoga creates cohesiveness and connection amongst the students. It breaks through moodiness and eases shyness, anxiety and general hyper activity.
It is fun and the children ( ages 3 – 5 ) look forward to their laughter yoga time everyday.
Sometimes a few children will initiate the practice spontaneously during a free choice time!
I was pleasantly surprised that the students with special needs ( autism, Hyperactive, and high anxiety) were actively engaged and calmed during and after the laughter yoga sessions. Laughter Yoga is a wonderful gift to give.”
In India, Dr. Kataria has had tremendous success in bringing Laughter Yoga into the classroom. In the USA , we are just beginning the process of introducing Laughter Yoga to the school system. If only it could be adopted all over the country during early childhood years. Laughter Yoga helps to reduce stress,  teaches resilience, fosters social interaction, boosts creativity and promotes self esteem and mood, stamina and communication.  Speaking of communication, as we get more connected to devices, it’s refreshing to practice eye contact and personal interactions in a joyful way. As we get bombarded  by negative news which fuel our fears,  wouldn’t it be better to feed our playful sides and develop more creativity and improvisation through laughter? Wouldn’t this type of peaceful interaction be better for manKIND and our planet?  Laughter and connection fosters loving kindness. Laugh liberally.
Disclaimer: I am not saying the Laughter Yoga is the sole answer to preventing suicide. That would be presumptuous and ignorant. I am not a trained health care professional. Obviously, there are many mental health reasons why someone would develop feelings of depression, anxiety and loss of hope, leading to suicide. I have seen it in my family.
However, I have heard many testimonials of how beneficial Laughter Yoga has been to people who have been struggling with anxiety,  depression, self esteem and loneliness.  I have seen people improve their lives with a regular laughter exercise practice.
I laugh each week with people who are struggling with loss and with health/life challenges. I laugh each day, even when I am sad. It is true stress relief for me. There is a reason why tens of thousands of people around the world are seeking more laughter in their lives and are seeing/experiencing significant benefits.
If you know of someone who is struggling, direct them to a suicide prevention line or a healthcare professional.
Available 24 hours everyday
Encourage them also to be in the company of others and in a positive environment. Laughter clubs provide a nurturing, uplifting and positive atmosphere.