The Telephone Laughter Club (UK) Story
by Lotte Mikkelsen
When faced with potentially life changing challenges most people venture through a life review process hoping to discover something that can act as a counterweight to what may lie ahead.
The same was the case for me, and this automatic response was what eventually saw me start the Telephone Laughter Club (UK) in September 2008.
The background for starting the Telephone Laughter Club was to combat a potentially different future than the one I had always pictured. After an MRI scan in early 2008 I was faced with the possibility of having multiple sclerosis, and having lost a sister to MS almost 20 years earlier I knew the consequences of the disease if I did nothing to battle it and the diagnosis.
Laughing, I knew, encouraged the body’s defense system, and I started imagining that the healthy t-cells released after laughing would replace the sick t-cells. The sick t-cells are the ones that attack and destroy the myelin sheath, the fatty layer on brain cells, in MS causing neurological damage and dysfunction.
Apart from the t-cell theory I figured that even if it might not work at least I would still feel good after laughing and that in itself would be encouragement.
In the western world you do not laugh as often in Laughter Clubs as you do in India for example, so in order to organise daily doses of laughing I had to brew up a different solution than meeting in a Laughter Club. Inspiration came from Australia and United States where telephone laughter had been successfully introduced to the public. Based on advice and guidance from two Laughter Colleagues the Telephone Laughter Club (UK) started on 16th September 2008.
In the beginning the service was paid for by the users but not many people were willing to take the extra expense they would incur from dialing in daily and in January 2010 the Telephone Laughter Club was re-launched with a free-phone number, free for UK landlines to dial into.
The idea of the Telephone Laughter Club is a great way to start the day! Dial in to a 10 minute live laughter call to frame your day from a full-on endorphinated view.
The Real Benefits
The results are amazing and phone laughers tell the greatest stories;
- Anita tells ‘I actually find my best laughs are on the phone as I can laugh more freely and find laughs I did not know I had, with eyes closed and no distractions. What’s so great about laughter is that there is no content, it can cure without causing any pain.’
- Cathy says ‘I am feeling the benefits again. It makes such a difference to laugh every morning.’
- Mary tells ‘I was laughing by myself for 10 mins or so most mornings before being given the number. The phone club is cosier and it’s lovely to have company laughing, especially if you live by yourself, it’s an excellent start to the day.’
- Liz says ‘I’m a regular participant in the morning laugh. I’m really getting hooked. Now I have real tears and wonderful reactive body stuff. I often lie on the floor, like when I was a kid, and roll about. It’s great. I can see my progression and can feel the benefits. My morning exercises are so much easier after laughing, it’s such a simple effective easy way to start the day, and it rubs off in all sorts of unexpected ways.’
Other people have told of physical benefits to their digestive system and social benefits in their work relationships. Wonderful!
Physical Change from Illness or from Laughter?
As for myself? I do not fear the physical changes I had been presented with in 2008 because I do not believe that MS is in my body anymore. Laughter is my companion and beats a lot of self-limiting and unhealthy thought patterns. Trust, visualisation and laughter are powerful tools to create lasting changes – both on a personal and on a professional level.
As a result of the changes I have found in myself and the vision to spread laughter to all people, the Telephone Laughter Club is fully sponsored by UnitedMind in the context of the pay-it-forward philosophy where good things are being passed on to others with no other expectations than positive reflection and sharing.
The aim of the Telephone Laughter Club is the same as that of the original Laughter Clubs, to encourage and induce laughter and all its benefits until real laughter emerges for the sake of creating peace within and around. It is not about funny noises being transmitted over the phone but simply about laughing for no reason to promote health and joy.
Telephone Laughter is also a very good activity for people to engage in when undertaking a Laughter Coaching programme as it brings laughter into life on a daily basis and therefore accentuates the effects of the Laughter Coaching. Laughter Coaching is an investment in yourself and by combining it with regular laughter practices, e.g. Telephone Laughter, you ensure that your Laugh Life is given a lasting boost. Laughter Yoga in all its variations is a method of creating sustainable results in real life.
Laughter Yoga may not be the answer to all things but if you are short of answers then practicing Laughter Yoga may give your creativity the boost you need to find the answers you are looking for.
Laughter Yoga brings about positive change you can bring into your personal as well as professional life as renewed energy and inspiration.
Take a deep breath and try it for yourself – in the Telephone Laughter Club!
The ambition for the Telephone Laughter Club (UK) is to have the service sponsored by an organisation who supports initiatives that make a positive difference to people’s mental and physical health and well-being.
Laugh for No Reason
When you laugh you change.
Dr. Madan Kataria
Laugh for No Reason
Three common misconception to laughing
Laughter Yoga removes any and all reasons!