It’s hard to believe, but we are quickly approaching the end of the winter term and so too the end of the academic year. The end of the semester inevitably brings with it the promise of spring and summer with their longer, warmer days but also the rush of final papers and exams. This week is Exam Ready UofT, a week where UofT Student Life shares tips, tricks and gives out goodies to help you all make it through this final push.
I’m definitely going to be checking out some of these events and on my own time, I’m planning to implement the mindfulness techniques I’ve learned over the past year to try and keep myself calm and avoid stressing too much (try is the key word here 🙂 ).
Last week I attended a session on Laughter Yoga in an attempt to combat some of the early “end of semester scaries.” Psychology Today highlights laughter as one of the most “contagious of all human emotions.” Laughter has immense benefits including “boosting the immune system, relaxing muscles, aiding circulation, and protecting against heart disease. Laughter can lower anxiety, release tension, improve mood, and foster resilience” and so laughter yoga seemed like the perfect way to combat feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed.
Laughter yoga combines laughter with yoga breathing practices and highlights the childlike playfulness within each of us. We were told that in India, laughter yoga has been introduced into the school curriculum so that at the beginning of the school day 5 minutes of laughter yoga are included to help reduce stress. We tried a few different laughter yoga techniques. One that we kept coming back to was clapping with the palm of the hand in a circle around ourselves while repeating the words “ho ho ha ha ha” from deep within the diaphragm, exercising the inner and outer organs.
Breathing is crucial in laughter yoga. It’s a way to get rid of the stale air within and bring in fresh air through movement – stretching and breathing in and then laughing as you breathe out. The physical experience of contagious laughter was lovely – as you see other people laugh you can’t help but smile. It was evident the way that everyone opened up throughout the session as the laughter made us all relax!
This was such an enjoyable experience! I love laughing and this was a novel way of actively using laughter as a stress relief method. Exam Ready week has a number of events like this one, providing resources and ways to manage the end of the semester. Be sure to check out their website to see the programs available and to find out where you can collect your exam ready kit!