Now known as the “original Laughter Coach”, Dr. Annette Goodheart, a psychologist from Santa Barbara, California, used laughter in her therapy in the 70’s.
Today, her methods are still practiced and laughter is increasingly being used as a tool in coaching and therapy because of the profound healing and transformative effects it has on us. I’ve been coaching since the beginning of 2016 and brought laughter into my coaching work about a year later. I now use a lot of tools and techniques in my work that I learned from Dave Berman (co-creator of the Laughnosis method) and also from Laughter Wellness.
I’ve used Laughter for transformation in groups, one on one and I also use it to process and shift my own emotions and perceptions.
Today I wanted to focus on Laughter Wellness and its perfect marriage with coaching.
“So what is Laughter Wellness?” you might be asking. It’s a mindful practice designed to boost positive energies and all-round well-being. It’s an evolution of Laughter Yoga and was created to allow participants meaningful and useful exercises to improve their well-being, both during sessions and in their day to day lives.
Here are 5 big reasons Laughter Wellness works wonders for coaches, therapists and transformative workshop / retreat facilitators:
Coaching is allll about positive thinking, changing habits and patterns of thought or behaviour.
For unconscious reprogramming, you typically need:
The belief that you can change
To trick / bypass the guard and plant seeds for change deep in the unconscious mind so that it seems real, automatic and natural
The typical way to reprogram the unconscious mind is to trick the mind into believing the change through imagining something and embodying it, and coaches use many different methods to achieve this, including guided visualisations, meditations, journalling exercises etc.
Hypnosis reprograms the mind by getting it into a trance state, and laughter works in a similar way; it bypasses the critical faculty (the gates on the unconscious mind) and as a coach, you can get your client into a laughter “trance” then plant seeds for positive change deep within, without unconscious resistance.
It’s fun, it’s far quicker than many other methods and it creates lasting change because laughter helps us to enter that open and receptive state.
Some Laughter Wellness exercises also use the juxtaposition of laughter and negative/uncomfortable emotions (intentionally bringing laughter to a particular “negative” memory/visualisation). This reframe allows us to shock a new emotional reference into our nervous system, and through practice, we can discharge the negative emotions around something and learn to laugh easily and automatically in situations that would otherwise have plunged us into despair, stress, embarrassment or frustration.
Building resilience, confidence & clarity
Laughter Wellness practices allow us to gain perspective on things, discharge feelings of anxiousness, worry or stress and build our mental and emotional resilience. They can also help us to detach from the outcome of a situation. Imagine being totally detached from the outcome of a sales call, a difficult conversation or a product launch…
🙂 *phew* I just heard your sigh of relief!
You could be more relaxed and have more fun with it, right? You could stop the unnecessary mind chatter, be present and ENJOY the conversation.
Nothing helps you loosen up and give less of a **** than laughter and play, and you will realise that you can also “survive” if problems arise, people say no to you.
I can’t tell you how many times I have gone into a minute or five of straight laughter right before a call with a potential client. It gets me out of my head, helps me to be more present, confident and detached from the outcome. It allows me to assess whether I actually want to work with those people, rather than just offering them something coz I think I should.
So many entrepreneurs start out down a path of “creating a business from my passions”, and then get so stressed out, overwhelmed and bogged-down with WORK that it feels hard and heavy and UNpassionate. That was me in 2016.
I’d started my coaching biz and made A LOT of work for myself. I was broke as hell, had less than a handful of clients (on super cheap rates), was doing loads of stuff for free and trying to “figure out” (what a head-f***) the online business game. I was waking up anxious every single day and almost hating this job I’d created for myself. Funnily enough, laughter was one of the key pieces in me turning around my anxiety, which helped me to build more clarity and confidence in where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do and the amazing things I had to offer.
As far as clients go, YES, it’s perfect for your clients to have all of these benefits too. How many clients have you had that are too in their head, too attached to the outcome or devastated by things not going the way they’d hoped? SO MANY people I have worked with have commented that they are more carefree after a laughter session (even a single laughter exercise sometimes), and I have worked with clients who have come to me for Laughter coaching because of anxiety.
Check out my interview with Russel Brunson, The Anxiety MD here.
Being in a state of play shifts us out of stress. Countless studies have shown that a stressed mind cannot problem solve or create in the way that a relaxed one can, and laughter, play and relaxed breathing all switch us into the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows us to be in creative flow. It allows us to toy with new ideas, to play with the idea of them becoming reality, and possibly even have some strokes of absolute genius. That means new ways to do things in your biz & in your work with clients. For them it can mean realising new ways to connect with their long-term partner, more ways to create the lifestyle and money that they want, more ease in solving their own day to day “problems”.
Connecting yourself and your clients to their creative genius is always a good thing. In a business sense, it can mean more satisfied clients and more revenue for you. In calls that I have had with clients
Let’s get a bit nerdy and break this one down for the non-spiritual coaches and entrepreneurs out there – everything is made of energy, you, me, the screen you’re watching this on, whatever you’re sitting or standing on… break down cells to atoms and sub-atomic particles and you have… energy.
We attract whatever is vibrating at the same frequency as we are – if we are low-vibe (in fear, sadness, guilt etc), we are attracting things, people and situations that are similar. Someone feeling guilt, shame or desperation about earning what they consider to be an abundance of money won’t be able to attract it or earn it. Yes, some of that could be put down to unconscious blocks, but it’s also because it’s physically impossible. The laws of physics are laws – they are consistent and true.
I am sure any coach can relate to this – throughout my three years of coaching, ups and downs, I have ALWAYS attracted clients with similar strengths and similar “problems” or weaknesses as me. When I have been uncertain, I have had sessions with clients about their uncertainty, when I have had unshakeable certainty and am on fire, they have been rearing to go and blazed trails, getting fantastic results within hours of our first session.
The higher our vibration is up the scale of consciousness, the more amazing things, people and opportunities we can automatically attract into our lives. Laughter Wellness Sessions build positive energies and emotions – joy, peace, satisfaction, love, gratitude etc.
Exiting the Comfort Zone
“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there” is a widely used quote in the personal development and motivational speaker world, because as coaches, as speakers, authors, network marketers, as entrepreneurs, we are about growth; growth meaning improvements in all areas – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, romantically, financially etc etc. If you are a coach and your clients are not getting uncomfortable, I’m going to say this – you’re not doing your best. You can get people WAY better results when you stretch them and show them what they are really made of with love.
Laughter Wellness is not a giant shock to most people’s systems, it is designed to gently ease people into it, but most people aren’t used to just choosing to laugh at length. It is uncomfortable because it is something different. As most of you reading this probably know, as far as our survival instincts go, new / different / unknown = potential danger.
I have never had a client finish a session and disagree that the laughter was a little uncomfortable at first. It is something new to most people, and I always tell my clients how well they did for getting right into it and giving it a good go, because every time we exit the comfort zone and get positive rewards (the countless feel good chemicals and other benefits of laughter PLUS my praise), we are more likely to get out of the comfort zone again (this loops back around to building self-trust and confidence).
You can slide the scale of “discomfort” to keep your clients stretching themselves (and reprogramming new habits etc). Once they’re used to the laughing, you can bring laughter to things that annoy or embarrass them a little (6/10 on the “annoyance” or “embarrassment” scale or less), and you can gradually work up to bringing laughter to memories or visualisations of something that really upset them, to a big fear of theirs.
If you as an entrepreneur (or human in general) are not willing to get out of the comfort zone, I don’t believe you will get to where you are capable of getting (or ever have the life you really want). So if you’re reading this as a coach or entrepreneur and you know that you need to stretch yourself a little, start with a personal Laughter Wellness practice at home, at a club or with a Laughter Coach or LW Facilitator.
Speed, Ease and FUN
As I have mentioned a few times already, Laughter Wellness and the tools and exercises within it are a very rapid way to facilitate change (all while boosting your clients’ all-round well-being and having a blast yourself). If you’ve ever had a super serious coaching session that absolutely exhausted you, dragged on for ages and really didn’t feel fully resolved at the end, Laughter Wellness is definitely something to add to your toolkit. It helps to move through things mindfully and keeps the vibes light and empowering, while delivering deep, impactful and lasting change. Plus, if you could be paid to talk things out or paid to move through things quickly, freely and laugh while getting amazing results for yourself and your client (we’re not going to think you’re selfish), which would you choose?