Laughter is the best medicine! We hear from ‘the laughter lady’ Phillipa Challis who has been running the community Laughter Club Geelong since 2002. It takes place in front of the wading pool at Eastern Beach at 9am on Saturdays. It’s free and everyone is welcome! www.facebook.com/Laughter-Club-Geelong-1514509078863429
‘The sessions appeal to all ages and all abilities, male and female. You come away energised as it’s a chance to let the inner child out. Children laugh naturally so many times a day. It’s our chance to be playful, clap to a rhythm, do some deep stretching and have big belly laughs. Newcomers often feel inhibited but laughter is contagious and very quickly becomes genuine. It is infectious.
‘Why do people join? For the interaction among other things. The half hour session is like laughter meditation; it’s in the moment and incredibly enjoyable. You are actively exercising without even knowing it, as you use every muscle in your body. After the session there is even more laughter over a latte.
‘We have people who have been coming since we started, newcomers to Geelong and those who come occasionally. It is so much fun. Being within a group brings the laughter on. Laughter Club Geelong has never missed a weekly session.
‘We use laughter yoga which was developed in 1995 by a medical doctor, Dr Madan in India. I started the Laughter Clubs in Victoria, now there are over 50 clubs. http://laughterclubsvic.org/ There are over 6,000 worldwide.
‘We rely on donations and we were the benefactors of @Grill’d restaurant recently via their Local Matters program.
‘There has been research undertaken which proves people reap the benefits of laughter. It works on a physical, psychological and emotional level.
‘Through my business ‘Live Life Laughing’ I’ve presented to 1,000s of people in organisations, institutes, businesses and schools. Laughter enhances creativity, increases productive work, it opens channels of communication and it leads to engaging connections. It boosts the immune system so staff have less sick days.
‘My slogan is ‘Hearty laughter, Happy staff, Healthy profits.’ I’m the rare breed of speaker they book for the after-lunch slot as I can energise a large audience or a small group.’
Phillipa has been involved in the community all her life, both in corporate and community roles. She is passionate about spreading the ‘happidemic’ of laughter and says “We don’t stop laughing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop laughing.”
Photo: Phil Hines Photography