An Ally

As I was writing up my milestones and goals for the year at the finishing of 2019, just before moving into 2020, one of my aims was to be an active charity supporter instead of just talking about it.

On occasions I have run campaigns with the purpose of raising money for charity, and in addition UnitedMind supports Circus Starr on an annual basis.

However, with the recent on goings in our society, and the inequality that is still strong in our communities, I decided to step it up and become a true Ally instead of one who only talks about support and waves a finger in disagreement at wrongdoings.

We are one world and in this world I grew up with friends of different shapes, colours, preferences, abilities, backgrounds and many other differences. These relationships, new and old, are being nurtured by our mutual understanding and sense of what is right in a compassionate and kind way.

The other evening I watched Mamma Mia Here We Go Again, a movie my adults with learning disabilities Laughter Club at Larches Community, totally love, and while we were still meeting weekly they always asked me if I had seen the film. I finally did watch it. It moved me to tears thinking of my Larches Laughers and understanding their love for the music and the dance in this film. And I miss them in all that is going on hoping they are all safe and well.

In Laughter Yoga there is no political, religious or any other agenda other than being all inclusive with an open heart and mind.

My choice of charity is in recognition of the equal rights that I feel all of us – my friends, clients, colleagues, family, partners should experience without any questioning or even more serious attacks on anyone for the choices we all make. It is not just a charity, it is a group of people who believe in changing the world to include us all without anyone feeling they own privilege and without anyone being fearful of showing who they truly are.

Through booking Corporate Laughter Workshops and Training with UnitedMind Laughter Yoga Ltd you support growth and communication, diversity and equality in society at home and at work.

Image by chezbeate from Pixabay

Equal rights for all!

That is my ‘political’ speech of the day.

With love and laughter

Lotte Mikkelsen
Your everyday Laughter Queen

Laughter Ambassador and THE Laughter Yoga Master Trainer (UK)
Laughter Coach & Therapist, Gibberish Advisor & Trainer, MISMA

Phone: +44 (0) 800 1214 714
Mobile: +44 (0) 7736 341 717
Email: lotte@unitedmind.co.uk
Web: www.lottemikkelsen.com

Facebook www.facebook.com/unitedmind.through.laughter
Twitter www.twitter.com/unitedmind
Instagram www.instagram.com/unitedmindthroughlaughter
YouTube www.youtube.com/lottemikkel
TikTop www.tiktok.com/@laughteryoga

  • Affiliate Member of SET (Society for Education and Training)
  • Member of ICO (Information Commissioners Office)
  • Member of Laughter Association UK
  • Affiliated to the International Laughter Yoga University
  • Member of FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapist) Insurance, Membership and Accreditation

While we are separate

I hope this message finds you healthy and well, with hope and good outlook.

UnitedMind Laughter Professionals are booked for many events coming up in the future, some which have been postponed owing to the current situation entailing our worldwide health and wellbeing.

Our communities are all facing unexpected times and I am reaching out to you with an invitation for you and your team, staff or connected group to take part in online Laughter Yoga events, either scheduled public sessions or to organise special sessions with your group of people.

Online Training, Corporate Laughter, and more

The laughter sessions can be organised to take place on Zoom, Skype, Google, WebEx or other platforms.

I encourage anyone who has taken leave, furlough, redundancy, lost job or work from home to discuss with your colleagues, friends, and family the opportunity to connect through laughter and joy.

You are also welcome to partake in our scheduled Sunday Laughter Club running every Sunday in April and possibly May at 1pm-1:20pm. The Zoom details are https://us04web.zoom.us/j/132683686 pw 305815.

An alternative could be recording a specific message for you to share, e.g. https://youtu.be/vHszSCqW9Mk which was recorded for senior care facilities.

In addition you can book your online training which runs over 4 sessions that teaches you to bring more laughter into your life at all times, via https://www.unitedmind.co.uk/product-category/training/4-week-online-laughter-leader-training/.

If you would like to discuss your personal sessions please do get in touch on info@unitedmind.co.uk or call me on mobile number 07736341717.

We all need to stay connected with our friends, family, colleagues and peers.

Peace, Love, Laughter and Great Health
Lotte Mikkelsen #youreverydaylaughterqueen

UnitedMind Laughter Yoga in London and the UK
– through laughter we connect

Dr. Kataria’s Message to Lotte Mikkelsen

ms. Lotte Mikkelsen
Your Everyday Laughter Queen

Member of Laughter Association UK, official body for Laughter Professionals

Laughter Ambassador – Laughter Yoga Master Trainer – Laughter Therapist Trainer – Laughter Coach & Trainer – Gibberish Teacher

Email lotte@unitedmind.co.uk
Phone +44 (0) 7736341717

Beat the blues this winter

If you’re suffering from the winter blues there are a number of things you can do in order to boost your mood and feel better.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is thought to affect around two million people in the UK. Symptoms such as depression, lethargy, irritability, trouble sleeping, overeating, and feeling down and unsociable can present themselves in adults and children alike. It is thought that the cold weather and lack of natural light and vitamin D could be the cause of bouts of depression during winter. If you’re suffering from the winter blues it can seem like there is no escape; however, there are a number of things you can do in order to boost your mood and feel better…

  • Get outside and stay active: Exercise increases your level of endorphins – the happy hormone – which lifts your mood and makes you feel better. Going for a walk outside in the morning or middle of the day not only helps you to stay active, but the daylight hits the back of your retinas and your brain registers the light.
  • Stay warm: Being cold can make you feel more depressed; and studies have shown that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by half. Consume regular hot drinks and food, and wear warm layered clothing and warm, comfortable shoes. Aim to keep your home between 18 and 21C where possible, or at least heat the room in which you spend most of your time.
  • Eat properly: The old saying is very true – you are what you eat. If you eat rubbish then you will feel like rubbish! Eat a balanced diet rich in carbohydrates, lean protein, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Eating healthily means you’ll be getting the vitamins you need to help fight the blues, as well as avoiding winter weight gain.
  • Socialise with friends and family: It can be all too easy to turn down invitations and stay indoors moping about when it’s cold and dark outside. However, socialising has been proven to be very effective in helping to lift the mood so make the effort to go and see friends and family. You could even take up a new hobby that allows you to meet and interact with new people!
  • Seek help: If it all gets too much and you seem unable to alter your mood with the methods discussed above then it’s really important to speak to your GP. There are various ways in which SAD can be treated, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, lightbox therapy, and support groups. Don’t suffer alone in silence, there’s plenty of help out there for you but your GP needs to know what’s wrong so that they can help find the right solution for you!

How Laughter Can Improve Your Life

Laughter is more than the signature sound of humour and happiness that’s unique to everyone. It’s an experience – one that reverberates throughout your whole body.

The benefits of laughter are not to be taken for granted.

Every time you laugh, fifteen facial muscles contract, the size of your larynx reduces by 50%, and your tear ducts are activated.

Able to induce euphoric feelings with a similar effect to morphine, laughter can instantly transform mood, help you bond with a loved one or stranger, and immediately lift your spirits.

In fact, did you know that laughing 100 times a day gives your body a thorough workout – one that’s comparable to spending fifteen minutes on an exercise bike?

Not only that, laughing reduces blood pressure, is excellent for the cardiovascular system, and improves memory and cognitive functioning.

And that’s not all. Scientific studies have found that laughter increases the amount of T and B cells which are the body’s natural defence against viruses and cancer other illnesses – even cancer.

So, you could argue that the more you laugh, the stronger your body’s resistance to serious illness will be.

With clear emotional and physiological benefits, there’s no denying that laughter will improve your quality of your life.

Attaining that perfect work-life balance is ultimate-goal for many in the UK. To achieve this and enjoy all that you do, those moments of levity are paramount.

Interested in learning more of the identifiable universal health benefits of laughter? Here are five simple reasons why you should be laughing more.

Mood Enhancement

Leading studies have shown that laughter can improve people’s mood and general happiness.

Think of it this way, if you walk around with a black cloud hanging over your head, the way you perceive what’s happening to and all around you is different than if the metaphorical clouds lift and the sun breaks through.

Laughter is one of the cornerstones of sustained happiness. It can cultivate gratitude for a shared moment or solitary experience.

Even pretend laughter, without any humorous stimuli can improve mood.

Try laughing without something funny occurring and you’ll find that your brain doesn’t immediately register whether the stimuli is genuine or not, yet the physical act of laughter will lift your mood.

Research has also suggested that laughter has an analgesic quality that reduces unconscious pain, something that’s paramount for regulating mood.

The mood enhancement and mental benefits of laughter can help you to recognise positivity and forget negative thoughts in a heartbeat.

Improves Memory

At one time or another we’ve all cursed our memory.

Whether it has been when you’ve returned from the shops only to discover you’ve bought everything but the one item that you went out for, or that dentist appointment that you booked months in advance only to forget on the day, forgetfulness seems to be symptomatic of our busy lives.

The good news for anyone prone to bouts of forgetfulness is that laughter improves memory.

How?

The connections and associations that the brain forms when learning can be heightened by combining basic learning with an emotional response like laughing.

Improving the degree of association with different parts of your brain, such as logic, reason or amusement, makes it easier to remember facts and details because you have created that additional emotional connection.

So, let’s say for example that you work in an office where it’s all systems go.

One where it feels like every singe day there’s a million and one things to do and remember.

Try introducing laughter to your role (exercised with discretion and professionalism, of course) and you may just find that the benefits of laughter and elevated mood help you to perform your role with finesse and agility – and remember too, a happy team is a productive team.

Get your colleagues laughing and the day will surely go quicker.

Promotes Creativity

For many people, creativity is paramount to their professional and personal lives.

Creativity can even be potent enough to become a significant part of someone’s identity, meaning that separating them from their ability to envision and execute ideas that others cannot is who they are.

Did you know that laughter promotes creativity? Laughing has a myriad of effects on the chemical processes in the body.

In reducing stress hormones, increasing endorphins, and increasing oxygenation to the brain and blood, you will feel a spike in creativity – something that is highly valued in people’s professional lives and hobbies away from work.

If you feel sluggish, uninspired, or worse, demotivated to pursue your artistic, or any creative, endeavours in your spare time, try laughing.

Laughing improves general neurological health, bolstering your body’s natural support system.

This is one of the core health benefits of laughter. Getting that work-life balance is paramount to sustained emotional and physical health – and something as simple as laughing can have a profound effective on productivity and impetus.

After all, the better we feel, the more likely we are to find the motivation to get done what we need to.

Bolsters Resilience and Coping Skills

Life is an interesting journey; we all experience peaks and valleys, face adversity, have obstacles to overcome, and bask in those moments when the stars just seem to align perfectly.

Often when faced with trials, it as much about how you manage the circumstance as it is the actual circumstance itself.

In many cases, it’s about the big picture.

Think of it this way: you’re driving home from work and your car falters fives miles from home. It’s raining. You’ve had a trying day and you need to get home and put the dinner on. You can give into frustration or anger, or take a moment, breathe deeply and think about how to solve the problem.

Now, let’s compound the circumstance.

What if your car was in for a service a week or two before and every potential reliability issue was addressed, apart from the one that’s caused you to break down?

You could either get disheartened and question, why me? Or, laugh at the irony of the situation and act positively to resolve the issue.

In this situation, there are few more impactful actions than employing mental benefits of laughter.

Lightening your mood can have a transformative effect, bolstering resilience and coping skills in that vital moment – or in all future circumstances.

Reduces Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (or hypertension) can have a profoundly negative effect on our health.

Acknowledged as being one of the primary culprits of heart disease and stroke, sustained stress is something that everyone should avoid, regardless of age.

However, consider this: it’s hard to be stressed when you’re laughing. Recent studies have found that laughing can reduce blood pressure. One of the more referenced study is one conducted in 2011 at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions.

Researchers took a diligent and thorough approach to discover the heath benefits of laughter and discovered something rather interesting.

Using playful eye contact and breathing exercises, 79 participants took part in a series of music and laughter therapies.

After each session was concluded, blood pressure readings were taken.

Within 3 months the study found that the blood pressure readings of participants were reduced on average by 7 mmHg (millimetres of mercury.)

In comparison, participants in the music therapy discovered that their blood pressure readings were reduced on average by 6 mmHg (millimetres of mercury.)

The conclusion? Laughter is more effective than music in reducing blood pressure. Feeling stressed or anxious? Laugh – it may well be the salvation you’re looking for!

Why Laughter Yoga?

The success of laughter studies on reducing blood pressure and other health ailments has led to a unique and uniquely effective form of treatment – laughter yoga.

The benefits of laughter yoga are evident from your first session. Unsure what to expect?

Come along to a session at UnitedMind Laughter Yoga.

You won’t find a comedian with a microphone telling jokes whilst you’re concentrating on holding a Mountain pose, Forward Fold or Downward-Facing Dog. You don’t even need to be in a jolly mood.

Laughter is initiated as a form of bodily exercise.

Participants sit together in a group and laugh. Eye contact is completely up to you, but be prepared, this can often lead to uncontrollable fits of giggles.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of laughter yoga?

Want to discover what happens at one of our Joy workshops?

Call UnitedMind today on 0800 1214 714 or email info@unitedmind.co.uk and begin your journey towards contentment today.

All Year Resolutions To Stay Happy

Already a month into 2019 – scrap those unattainable resolutions and replace them with a new way of living and thinking so that you can stay happy.

New Year’s Resolutions should be all about happiness rather than setting unrealistic expectations.

Giving yourself goals that are unattainable with only add extra pressure and stress.

At UnitedMind we believe in the power of laughter and happiness when living a fulfilling life. Have a look at our top suggestions for introducing resolutions that work towards happier ways of living and being, both in body and mind.

Work out a routine

Many New Year’s Resolutions include losing weight or giving up alcohol and cigarettes, but although these are admirable goals they are often beyond reach.

By working out a daily or weekly routine you can integrate certain things into your life which you are looking to achieve.

If you want to drop a couple of pounds for example, try assigning specific days or times for exercise.

This will give those goals more structure, making them far easier to reach.

Find a positive in everyday

If you start to slip into sadness or become overwhelmed by stress it can be very hard to break out of this cycle.

Of course we can’t all be happy 100% of the time but looking for happiness even in the littlest things can make a big impact.

Living by the motto that you have to be miserable today in order to be happy tomorrow just doesn’t work.

Spend time to evaluate your negative feelings but try your best to also see some positive. You may have had a bad day at work but remember what was good that day too.

Be kind to strangers

Making little adjustments to your attitude by performing random acts of kindness really does help to boost your own mood.

As well as being kind and polite to the people you do know, create a small positive in a stranger’s day by helping an elderly person cross the road, giving directions to someone who is lost, buying a coffee for the person behind you in the queue…

All of these examples may seem insignificant but when you see how they matter to someone else you will share in this happiness.

Make time for the things you enjoy

Stop checking your phone or social media accounts and make time to do the things you enjoy the most.

Whether you love getting immersed in the world of a new book, are an enthusiastic painter, or find amusement in creating your own hit song, set aside time in each day to do these things.

Everyone knows how much simpler it is to feel happy when doing what you enjoy. Even just half an hour spent in this way everyday can outweigh whatever negatives or stresses have burdened you during the day.

Explore the world more

Avoid those resolutions that set ridiculous demands to travel the world and visit every iconic landmark.

Finances aside, travel can be hard to fit in around a schedule without just packing up and leaving completely. Introducing travel into your lifestyle doesn’t need to be completely tricky though.

Look at what is possible and make plans to work from there. From planning to visit a local village at the weekend, to taking a train ride to the next biggest city, there is plenty of fun to be found in the UK.

Find out more ways to stay happy and healthy by having a read through the rest of our blog. At UnitedMind our laughter yoga is an alternative therapy to help fight the struggles of stress.

Contact us today to learn about our sessions and how we can help you.

5 ways to help your life partner with depression

Depression is a complex illness and there’s no one-size-fits all approach, but these tips should help.

According to statistics, more women are diagnosed with depression than men. However, it is likely that the mental illness affects just as many men in reality, but they are less likely to admit that they have a problem and seek help for it.

Symptoms of depression

If you notice your husband exhibiting any or all of the following symptoms most days or every day for three or more weeks then it is likely that he is suffering with depression:

  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Anger and irritability
  • A loss of interest in daily activities
  • Lethargy and loss of energy
  • Changes in appetite or drastic weight loss/gain
  • Restlessness and trouble concentrating on things
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

If you suspect that your husband is suffering from depression it is important that you gently encourage him to seek help from a doctor, but don’t put any undue pressure on him. A formal diagnosis will typically lead to a course of anti-depression medication, followed by cognitive behavioural therapy or counselling. However, there are also a number of ways in which you can help your husband through his depression too…

  1. Love them unconditionally: When you got married you vowed to love one another in sickness and in health. Depression is a mental illness which falls under this remit; and as hard as it may be to show your spouse love when they’re having a bad day and taking it out on you, it is exactly what they need. However you would normally show your husband that you love him, whether it’s putting a note in with his packed lunch, sending him a text/email, or cooking him a nice meal in the evening, ensure that you continue to do these things so that they feel loved, even when they’re unable to reciprocate it.
  2. Be their safe haven: You know your husband better than anyone else does, and this intimate closeness can work to your advantage as well as your disadvantage. Being the closest person to him means that your husband is likely to take out his frustration on you, and he may say some hurtful words. However, he needs you to be the one who receives the brunt of this behaviour as you are the one person who loves him enough to let him ride it out. Whether he needs to shout, cry, or just hug in silence for a while, be that safe haven that he needs.
  3. Understand when to give them space: Sometimes your husband may tell you that he wants space, but what he’s actually trying to say is that he needs you. Sometimes he may genuinely want some space to be alone with his thoughts or hobbies for a while. When he tells you that he wants some space, try taking hold of his hands, looking him in the eye and asking him if that’s what he truly wants. The physical connection of holding his hands shows him that you are willing to sit through this with him, but also prepared to leave him alone for a while until he’s ready for company again.
  4. Create an action plan: On a day when your husband is feeling calm and happy, sit down together and discuss an action plan for dealing with his low days. Ask him what experiences and behaviours would make him feel happier on those days, and put together a plan for how to make those things happen when he feels low. It could be something as simple as spending time with you such as going for a walk or watching a film, or perhaps having his favourite dessert after dinner. Let your friends and family know that there’s a chance you may have to cancel plans at the last minute if your spouse needs something different on that day to lift his mood.
  5. Look after yourself: Supporting a spouse with depression can be incredibly draining, so it’s important that you make time to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing. Depression causes lethargy and loss of interest in things, so you may find yourself bearing the brunt of the housework and childcare, which can be incredibly tiring on its own, without the added pressure of looking after your spouse. Exercising together can help you both to feel happier; why not take up yoga or go walking or swimming together. Eating a healthy, balanced diet will also help you both to feel well, and strengthen your body to cope with the stress of the situation.

8 Habits of Incredibly Happy People

You may often stare and wonder how some people are just always happy. You might think they’ve always had a lot of luck in life – luck you don’t seem to have had. But we don’t think it’s just that.

Happiness is what you choose to be, not something that happens to you. Those happy people you envy do things to make themselves happy people, and you can do the same.

Learning to be happy is just like learning any other skill; it might take practice, but it will come naturally in the end. So what are the habits you can practice to enhance your happiness and your life?

Don’t compare yourself

Did you see what we said earlier about envying those happy people? Well, don’t! Comparing yourself to others is one sure-fire way to get yourself down.

You start to notice things that other people have, that you don’t – different qualities, different skills, different advantages in life. When you compare yourself and notice these things, you start to focus on what you don’t have and completely forget about what you DO have.

Always remember how lucky you are to have the life you have. Never dwell on the negatives, and always live life to the fullest!

Kindness

Say goodbye to bad feelings like anger, jealousy and negativity because kindness is scientifically proven to make you happier. Treating everyone with kindness, no matter what mood you start off in, will significantly boost your mood.

It’s all about those feel-good hormones and endorphins in your brain. Simply smiling and expressing kindness wherever you go, promotes positive feelings for you and the person you’re talking to. What’s not to love about that?

It’s not only important to be kind to others, but it’s also important to be kind to yourself. Don’t ever punish yourself for menial things like eating too much chocolate, skipping the gym, or doing absolutely nothing on your day off. Treat yourself.

Keeping busy

Happy people are known to be busy people – not rushed, but busy. Happy people take up hobbies and live life to the full! Don’t be afraid to say yes to trying new things, and don’t be that person that is constantly making excuses to avoid stepping out of routine.

But remember to keep it balanced. If you’re too busy, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed, and probably a little bit exhausted. If you’re spending all of your days doing absolutely nothing, you’ll find yourself bored, miserable, and lacking morale.

Trying new and exciting things is just part of life. Life isn’t about being monotonous; it’s about experience and doing what you want to do.

Cherish friends and family

Friends and family are essential to anyone’s happiness. They know you better than anyone else – that is why they have the ability to keep you sane, keep you laughing, and keep you happy.

Always make time to visit, call or just hang out with family and friends, and don’t ever let your routine or busy schedule get in the way of that. The love you have for them is the answer to a higher quality of life!

Personal control

Never let other people dictate how you should live your life. After all, you have your own goals and your own dreams, and you know what you need to achieve them.

By being in charge of your own life and what you do, you will increase your sense of self-worth and self-value, ultimately leading to a happiness that shines from inside your body to anyone that meets you.

Laugh more

When you think of happiness, what do you immediately think of? Odds are that you think of smiling and laughing. Why? Because these smiling and laughing are visible signs that show a person is happy. In fact, they are more than that…

Smiling and laughing not only show a person is happy, but increases happiness all around too – both within that person, and to anyone around them. It really is contagious.

This is exactly why we put on laughter workshops and laughter training programmes, where people can learn to laugh and embrace laughter to aid their personal growth and happiness. To find out more information about our workshops, you can head to our website or get in touch by calling 08001214714 or emailing info@unitedmind.co.uk.

Be healthy

Eating well and doing regular exercise are two things you can actively do to keep you happy. What you eat directly impacts your mood, and so does keeping active. Whether that’s a daily walk or a few trips to the gym a week, it can help you on your way to true happiness.

All it takes is a balanced diet and about 30 minutes of exercise a day to promote a healthy lifestyle; a lifestyle that enriches the mind, body and soul. In fact, it’s got a positive cyclical effect; being healthy makes you happy, and being happy will make you treat your body better. It’s a win win!

Acceptance

The final key to happiness, and perhaps the most important at times, is that you need to accept that not everything in life is going to be perfect. That’s not negative, that’s not defeatist – that’s just life. And that’s fine.

When we talk about acceptance, we mean both general acceptance of all those curveballs that life throws at you, as well as self-acceptance. Happy people learn to accept changes, injustices and setbacks that they can’t control, and focus their energy towards what they can control.