A resounding "yes". This is how matthias vollmuth answers the question of whether you can counteract the autumn blues with laughter, or even overcome them. It’s actually logical for him to say that: the 56-year-old has been a laughter therapist for more than a decade, working not only in a workshop for people with disabilities, but also as a laughter trainer in rehabilitation clinics.
"Laughter is one of the four pillars of happiness and contentment. Like dancing, playing and singing, it helps to overcome or prevent mood lows." So also the autumn blues.
"Laughter strengthens the immune system", claims vollmuth. And "pent-up emotions are released. There is less anger and frustration." This is due to the fact that more than 300 muscles are activated and at the same time other muscle groups are relaxed. Laughing takes in six times more oxygen than normal breathing. More energy can be released in this way. "Additionally, the deep breathing dilates the blood vessels. The volume of the lungs is increased because we exhale for a very long time."
The body also releases happiness hormones (endorphins). However, not with a short laugh. "We need to laugh for about three minutes for the brain to produce the hormone", says vollmuth. The three minutes did not have to be in one piece, but quite close together in time.
But how can you make someone laugh who doesn’t really want to?? If you’re emotionally stuck in a hole, it’s hard to get out of it. "It is a conscious decision to give yourself and your psyche a break from the tension and thought loops of life", says the laughter therapist from his own experience and that of rehabilitation clinics. "It’s important to know that those who laugh don’t think, and those who think don’t laugh."
In his laughter yoga classes, vollmuth finds it easy to infect participants. He has a rough repertoire of different laughs: loud, soft, intermittent, giggly, and many more. In addition, the trainer uses special laughing exercises, as well as breathing, clapping and spab sessions and positive reinforcement exercises.
Who liked to laugh alone at home, should read a laughter yoga book or listen to a laughter CD, so that a kind of group feeling can develop. "Otherwise, courageously and creatively look for and find solutions to laugh. A smile can easily arise." Of course, a joke book, a comedy show or the booking of a laughter trainer would help.
What is not obvious to everyone: laughing with a lasting effect can be exhausting. Because a weekly five-minute laugh is not enough to combat the autumn blues reliably. "You should include laughter in the daily routine so that it can become a daily routine. For this, it is sufficient if I consciously pull up the corners of my mouth several times a day", advice of the therapist. This is already a sign to the body to feel more satisfied.
Matthias vollmuth considers it "fundamentally goal-oriented", to choose other beneficial measures besides laughter to alleviate the autumn blues. "Most people don’t dare to laugh while walking in public. But the sunlight on the walk is as important as the laughter."
Because it lifts the mood and strengthens self-confidence, the latter counteracts loneliness. "Because I do not retreat, but continue to participate in the life drauben."
Finally, matthias vollmuth promises: "anyone who has experienced the positive properties of laughter will know how good it is for body and mind." Laughter yoga is about simply laughing. Even if there is no reason to do so.
Laughter yoga: currently there is no fixed, public laughter yoga offer in the district of bad kissingen. In the corona pandemic had to cancel planned units. On 18. October 2020 takes place in the context of the health days of 11:15 o’clock to 12:45 o’clock in the caritashaus bad kissingen (hartmannstrabe 2a) a laughter yoga schnupperangebot. Matthias vollmuth will read from his book "lach-yoga – das katapult ins gluck" (focus on health effects) and tries to laugh together with the participants.
Laughter club: as a founding member, matthias vollmuth was there when the laughter club bad kissingen was established in 2007. He performed the function of the laughter coach for eleven years. He was also chairman of the board for six years. Due to a decline in membership, the dedicated board of directors had to dissolve the association in 2019 with a heavy heart.