Can hardly believe it but on 14th July Edinburgh Laughter Club was graced with the literary fabulous presence of writer and ‘Woman and Home’ magazine book editor Fanny Blake!
We had a fantastic time showing Fanny the health and wellbeing benefits of a right good giggle and she left feeling refreshed and revived. Hoping she’ll come back soon for some more Laughter Therapy.
The sun came out in June and we laughed our socks off !!!
7th-10th June was the Laughter Network UK National Laughter Conference in a gloriously sunny Manchester, where I spoke about the importance of observing our body’s natural rhythm’s in order to manage stress, improve performance and boost health; I outlined how using brain gym in laughter sessions not only boosts the body’s rhythmic cycles but also enhances the physiological benefits of the laughter and gets people to relax far more quickly if used at the beginning of a laughter session. We had a lot of fun with the audience doing all sorts of brain-gym exercises which encompassed singing, dancing, laughter, play and movement – fabulous fun for all!
As well as our weekly and monthly laughter clubs, we also ran laughter workshops for North Lanarkshire Council Social Care Senior Admin Team’s Away Day in Cumbernauld; for Parkinsons Self-Help Group in Airdrie; our third outing of the year to Linlithgow for Care For Carers Stepping Out Residential Weekend and we started a 6 week course on Laughter, Health & Happiness with the Ca(I)re Project for a carers group.
Yes June was totally gigglelicious!
A wonderful, crazy-busy month! Started off with a visit to Glasgow to do a Laughter Workshop for LGBT Glasgow T-Time. Also did my first session for the Ca(I)re Project’s “Daybreaks” which for the first time allowed me to work with carers and the people they care for. Both were wonderful groups and really lovely workshops to facilitate. One of the joys of my job is that every laughter session, club or workshop is different since it is dependent upon what the people taking part put into it; so, despite my well tested and established format, every group brings something new and different. Love it!
Laughter For Health celebrated World Laughter Day on Sunday 5th May by running a free laughter session in The Meadows from 11am – and would you believe it – the sun came out! I had just over 20 folk booked but we ended up with 32 people – all lying on the grass at midday in a huge circle on picnic blankets, bin-bags, yoga mats and all sorts of other make-shift padding laughing our hearts out til our abs ached! Without question the most fun I have ever had leading a laughter session – the energy was simply incredible and of course the fresh air and sunshine enhanced the experience massively!
Another Care For Carers Stepping Out Weekend under our belt on the same day as Edinburgh’s Got Soul performed our second concert – I practice what I preach you see! Dr Kataria talks about the 4 Elements of Joy in life (see here for his full article) – Laughter, Singing, Dancing and Play – and I sing, sing, sing as well as laugh and dance and play! It is hugely important that we pursue joyful pursuits and nurture our “Inner Smile” - singing with Edinburgh’s Got Soul is definitely one of mine!
Finished off a very busy month with 2 Laughter Workshops for Leukaemia Care – the Lanarkshire Support Group in Hamilton and then the Forth Valley Support Group in Stirling. And this on top of our regular weekly and monthly Laughter Club gatherings – fabulous!
Weekly Laughter Club on Thursdays is going really well as I started to prepare and drum up interest for World Laughter Day. Also ran a Laughter Workshop at The Healthy Life Centre which was a hoot! I also did some workshops for the NHS Lothian Recovery Network Conference which went down an absolute storm and generated lots of new leads and future bookings. Very good – very good – YAY! And it was the first outing of the year for me to Linlithgow for the Care for Carers Stepping Out Residential Weekends – always a delight and a joy.
The new weekly Laughter Club on Thursdays has gone from strength to strength with a really lovely core group of regulars plus the occasional new face is always warmly welcomed. Sunday monthly Laughter Club had another almost record turnout with 15 and again the energy was amazing. The “Up North & Scottish Contingency” of the Laughter Network was held in Edinburgh (yay no travelling!) with members visiting from Manchester, Carlisle and Dumfries & Galloway; despite a miserable, dreich day we had a fab day spending our time in coffee shops, lunch at Henderson’s, followed by tea and cake at The Hub with lots of sharing of experiences and ideas. Finished the month off with a trip to West Lothian to do a Laughter Workshop for a Carers Support Group in Kilsyth - and, as it was snowing, for one of the games we had a mock snowball fight (paper balls so no pain!) and I can honestly say that I have never seen a bunch of adults lose their inhibitions and embrace childlike playfulness quite so enthusiastically EVER! Brilliant fun!
Started the month off with a Laughter Workshop for a group in Colinton – really good fun! Then monthly Laughter Club – O M G – A.MAZ.ING!!!!! We had 19 laughers and the energy was just unbelievable – the best ever Edinburgh Laughter Club without a doubt! Was a very tight squeeze for the laughter meditation but the power and energy was superb – thanks to everyone who came along and made it such a special experience.
Laughter For Health is attempting to “get down with the technology” – we are now on Meetup and are tentatively fumbling our way along in Facebook. A Media Student from Edinburgh University has approached me to see if she can make a film about laughter yoga – she came along to Laughter Club is now raring to go! So – hopefully we will have some great video footage and photos in a couple of months to add to the website and formally launch our Facebook page – yay!
Oh – and I stumbled across the STV on-line article from the Day of Peace in Muirhouse in October – a few minor misquotes but good fun – click here to read the article – apparently my laugh should be classed as illegal – LOVE IT!!!!!
The new weekly laughter club on Thursday mornings started on 21st February and the first 2 weeks brought brand new faces to Laughter For Health which is always good to see – hopefully the new club will grow and grow and make some money for The Ca(i)re Project.
The start of the new year and already taking a number of bookings for the year ahead – looks like 2013 will be another great year full of laughter!! Laughter Club had a party and celebratory feel to bring in the New Year – always good to try out some new laughter exercises (any excuse ha ha!). Had a meeting with the Ca(i)re Project and we have agreed to start running a new weekly Laughter Club on Thursday mornings from 21st February – very good, very good, yay!!!!
A nice quiet wind down to round off the year – laughter club was great with another new face – always nice to see! And the article for Leukaemia Care’s Journey magazine was published – click here and scroll to page 11 to see the article.
After a manically busy October, November was more gentle with several laughter workshops including a second visit of the year to Queensferry Care; they were celebrating “Befrienders Week” and wanted to reward all their lovely befrienders with a wee social evening and lots of laughter – what a lovely group! The laughter workshop was a big hit and a lovely evening was had by all – me included!
Laughter Club was an absolute hoot – think we exhausted every possibility of ”halloween laughter” including the Michael Jackson zombie dance moves from Thriller! We waved goodbye to Dustin and Danielle who had been regulars to laughter club since the Summer but who were back off on their travels around the world including teaching in Asia. However, through Laughter Yoga International, I had helped Dustin locate local Laughter Clubs in Texas, USA (where he was from) and he encouraged his family to go along and try Laughter Yoga too – seemingly they all loved it and are now all laughter club members!
Was down in St Albans for the Laughter Network AGM & Visioning Weekend 17th-18th November – brilliant weekend spent catching up with positive, like-minded, inspiring people to share, learn and laugh til we hurt – mission accomplished!
Without doubt the busiest month yet! Was back at Lochend House for a Laughter Workshop as part of the Care For Carers “Looking After Yourself” Course, followed a few days later doing a Powerpoint presentation and Laughter session at the UK National Conference for Leukaemia Care and Lymphoma Association in Glasgow. In the audience was a lady who had not only met and knew Norman Cousins but had also been involved in the early ’90′s in research into the physiological effects of laughter, specifically on the NK (Natural Killer) cells – amazing! The research was undertaken in California using actors. The talk was such a success I was asked to write an article for Leukaemia Care’s magazine “Journey” which goes out to hospitals, GP surgeries and support groups across the UK.
Laughter Club was the busiest ever and the energy and positivity was just amazing! Thanks to all of you who came along and laughed with me!
I then went on to do laughter sessions in Muirhouse for the “Day of Peace” at the North Edinburgh Arts Centre; for the Older Men’s Group in Leith as part of the Pilmeny Development Project; and for the “Lothian Mental Health Well-being Mela” in Association with NHS Lothian and Health in Mind.
Finshed off the month with a mega busy weekend – the final week of the 6 week Laughter and Happiness Course for the Ca(i)re Project; the final Care For Carers Stepping Out Residential Weekend of the year in Linlithgow and a Laughter Workshop for the Clyde Group of Crohn’s & Colitis UK in Glasgow. And finally saw out the end of the month with 2 laughter taster sessions for the University of Edinburgh as part of their Mental Health Awareness at Work Week. Pheweeeeeeeeee!
Started the month with our 5th outing of the year to Linlithgow for the Care For Carers Stepping Out Residential Weekends – the Inner Smile workshop has been so well received and I am really looking forward to running it for the first time open to the public in November – now on the website! Ran another successful Laughter Workshop at The Healthy Life Centre and then our 3rd and final outing to Living Well North Edinburgh in Pilton; I’m delighted to say new regular Laughter Club members have resulted! Also started a 6 week Laughter For Health course with The Ca(i)re project at the Eric Liddell Centre and finished off the month with a laughter workshop for Parkinsons UK at their Therapy Weekend at Peebles Hydro – what an amazing session it was!
Started the month with a Laughter Workshop for Queensferry Carers in South Queensferry – soooo much fun! Laughter Club continues to go from strength to strength. Completed Part 1 of my Bowen Masters Training this month and also did my Website Design & Marketing Course Part 2 so lots of training – more laughter next month!
Another fabulously busy month – several new faces at laughter club which is always great to see. And the Care For Carers Stepping Out Residential Weekends in Linlithgow saw weekend number 4 of the year delivering the new workshop “The Balancing Act” specifically designed for carers based around nurturing our “inner smile”, the importance of taking time for ourselves, being kind to ourselves and listening to our body’s subtle signals to manage stress better. Feedback from the carers has been so wonderful that I will be running this new workshop for the public “Protecting Our Inner Smile” in November at The Healthy Life Centre. Also went through to Glasgow this month to run a Laughter Session for the Long Term Conditions Alliance Scotland (LTCAS) teambuilding event. Have also been working on finalising the website build with the Web Designer and attending training courses to enable me to maintain and develop the site in the future – an exciting challenge!!!
June has been a busy month with laughter workshops for Care For Carers Stepping Out Residential Weekend in Linlithgow, Waverley Care’s Volunteers’ Day up at Milestone House, Carers of West Lothian in Broxburn plus laughter sessions for Citadel Youth Centre in Leith and Living Well North Edinburgh in Pilton.
We had a fantastic Laughter Club on 10th June though all got very, very hot down in the Healthy Life Centre’s Meditation Room – we’ll be back in our usual upstairs training room next month – phew!
On Sunday 17th June, members of the Laughter Network kicked off the first ever week long UK National Laughter Festival with a four nation laughter session at midday (here in Edinburgh, Belfast, North Wales, the Isle of Man and also in Manchester). I then travelled down to Manchester for the culmination of the Laughter Festival 22nd-24th June. Saturday 23rd June started with Laughter Network members meeting and catching up while the afternoon saw The Comedy Store host the first ever UK Laughter Championships – brilliant, brilliant fun!
Next year the UK Laughter Festival will be in May and will grow bigger with national free events for schools, hospitals, carers and in the community; Laughter For Health will be co-ordinating events in Edinburgh so watch this space!