The path is clear! Your focus now is to maximize participation through a rapid succession of dynamic exercises.
On this page:
How It Works: Rounds
Follow the sequence that you’ve just explained and said you would follow:
- Brain integration (Clap)
- Breathing exercise
- Positive reinforcement
- Invitation to play (Laugh)
This is one round. Each typically lasts about 5-6 minutes. It can, of course, be longer. But if it’s less, you’re very likely going too fast. Slow it down. Take your time.
Here is a review of the four rounds you have practiced so far.
Laughter Wellness experience 1:
Laughter Wellness experience 2:
Important: Teach every exercise following a tell-show-do approach.
- Give it a name and a brief explanation.
- Give a quick demo of how it works.
- When ready (this is the most important), voice a clear command that it’s time to do it all together, e.g., “Ready? Go!”
Let’s now review each of these exercises. (Access the demonstration video for any exercise by clicking its name.)
Make sure you understand them all! Your homework in this lesson will be to teach one or more friends a 30-minute Laughter Wellness experience.
- The naming convention for Laughter Wellness exercises is not fixed. If you prefer a different name for any exercise, feel free to use it.
- There is no one correct method for carrying out any of the exercises. Use our suggestions as a guide rather than a rigid approach.
- Clap + Yeah! Enthusiastically clap as you say “Yeah!”
- Ho-Ho, Ha-Ha-Ha: Beat the following 1-2, 1-2-3 rhythm with your hands as you chant in synchronicity “Ho, Ho, Ha-Ha-Ha.”
- Clap on surrounding objects: Gently laugh as you pat objects around you, following a 1-2, 1-2-3 rhythm as you chant Ho Ho, Ha Ha Ha.
- Brushing arms and legs: Gently brush your body with your hands, following a 1-2, 1-2-3 rhythm as you chant Ho Ho, Ha Ha Ha.
- Rectangular clap: In sequence, we will touch the four edges of an imaginary rectangle formed by our right and left shoulders and right and left hip. Chant “Ho!” as you lightly tap your right shoulder with your left hand, “Ho!” again as you touch your right hip with your left hand, “Ha!” as you touch your left hip with your right hand, “Ha!” again as you touch your left shoulder, and the final “Ha!” as you touch your right shoulder. That’s one round. Repeat a couple more times.
- Thymus and navel clap: Clap your hands twice while chanting “Ho! Ho!”, then alternatively tap your thymus (center of your upper chest) and your navel three times while chanting “Ha! Ha! Ha!”. The thymus is an important component of the immune system.
Teaching tips for the brain integration exercises:
- You are in charge. Nobody else is. You do not need to wait for others to be ready to start or stop an exercise. You lead, they follow.
- Start slowly and gradually increase or decrease the speed until everyone is in sync.
- Use the Clap + Yeah! exercise whenever you need or want to regain control of the group.
- Pandiculate: This is a verb that describes the first stretch you take in the morning when you fully stretch the torso and upper limbs, typically accompanied by yawning.
- Smile breath: Inhale as you symbolically stretch your smile (eyes and mouth) up with both hands. Exhale as you relax.
- Tighten and relax: Slowly tighten your whole body as you inhale, and relax as you exhale.
- Push and pull: Smoothly follow the rhythm of your breath with your arms. Make a big smile as you inhale, pushing your hands straight out in front of you. Exhale and relax as you pull them back toward you.
- Pick a flower: Imagine a flower of your choice and take in its scent by breathing deeply a few times!
- Elbow breath: Stand or sit with good posture, close your eyes, and relax your arms. Then, slowly open them to the sides with your elbows moving first as you breathe in, and relax them as you breathe out. Repeat a couple more times.
Teaching tips for the breathing exercises:
- Insist on the importance of smiling and making eye contact with others while breathing. It gives access to a whole extra level of benefits. Having your participants express themselves and see happy facial expressions in others starts a mirror neuron response which helps boost everybody’s morale and enjoyment.
- Softly breathing through the nose is best, but breathing in any way that keeps you alive is perfectly fine. If you are spending time thinking about how to do this exercise properly, you are thinking too much. Get out of your head. Just do what feels right for you.
- Yes! Extend your fists in front of you. Slowly raise them above your head, then quickly bring them back down while shouting “YES!” loudly.
- What is going well? Encourage everyone to participate in answering the question “What’s going well?” We tend to focus on the negatives and overlook the positives. After someone shares, invite everyone to show their enthusiasm by giving a round of applause.
- Hurrah! Stamp your feet three times in the sequence left-right-left, then clap your thighs three times with your hands following the same sequence, and finally raise both arms high as you yell “Hurrah!” Repeat this sequence two more times.
- Naaaa, Eeeeeh, Roaaar! Whenever the facilitator utters a word that undermines power, the rest of the group responds with “Naaaa!”, such as “Impossible.” If the facilitator says a positive noun, the response is “Eeeeh!”, for example, “Courage.” If a positive verb is spoken, the response is “Roaaar!”, for example, “Thriving.” Ready? Go! Inferior, hopeless, growing, authenticity, believing, etc.
- 5 things that bring you joy: Everyone forms a circle. Each person will share five sources of happiness, which can be significant, such as family, or small, like apple pie. The group will show support by counting along with you. When you mention the first source, the group says “one”. For the second source, the group says “two”, and so on, until you reach five.
- Positive whispers: Simultaneously whisper uplifting statements, such as “you are fantastic”, “you’ve got this”, “the world is wonderful”, etc.
Invitations to play / Laughter Exercises
- Worst vs. Best laugh: This is a two-step exercise. In step one, ask everyone to share their worst laugh simultaneously. Afterward, emphasize that this is NOT the way we will be laughing together today. In step two, request everyone to share their best laugh, as if it were a special gift for their loved ones. Explain that this is how we will laugh today, a deliberate expression of our best selves, because we have the power to choose.
- Body-wake-up laughter: This is a call and response activity where one person leads while others repeat. The leader laughs while lightly clapping once, saying “Ha!”, then slaps their left forearm twice, saying “Ha! Ha!”, then gently slaps their body from the left arm, across the chest, and down the right arm, concluding with applause. The same sequence is repeated going from right to left, with the group following as before. Finally, the leader can lead a round that moves down the front of the body (one clap of the hands, two slaps on the face or chest, then down to the legs), and then down the back.
- 30-second laugh: Laugh in any way you like for 30 seconds (e.g., “I don’t know why I am laughing.”)
- Laughter vibrations: Laugh out loud while placing your hands on your abdomen (for “Ho Ho’s”), chest (for “Ha Ha’s”), and throat (for “He He’s”), to experience the vibrations each type of laughter creates.
- Hiccup laugh: Laugh and add a hiccup every few seconds.
- Transform negatives into positives: Act as if you’re catching a negative energy in the air using both hands cupped together and make a sharp “Ha!” sound. Bring your hands to your mouth and laugh while transforming it into a positive energy. Finally, open your hands to release the transformed, joyful vibrations into the air.
Teaching tip: Don’t be afraid of the laughter exercises. Allow sufficient time for them to take effect, at least 20 seconds, and even better if doubled, before moving on to the next round.