The Bridges Retirement Community recently held a seminar on Laughter Yoga. Participants learned about the benefits of laughter while practicing the art with each other.

This year, World Laughter Day will be celebrated on Sunday, May 5 and it is a good reminder to take some time to de-stress by laughing. There are plenty of reasons why you should.

Dr. Tanya Gold, MD recently held a seminar at The Bridges Assisted Living in Riverview. She has been practicing medicine for over 15 years and is board-certified in both family and holistic medicine. Dr. Gold is certified a Laughter Yoga Instructor as well as. Participants learned about Therapeutic Laughter, defined as deliberate laughter for health benefits.

Dr. Gold’s motivation for incorporating laughter into her life started when she was personally dealing with an eye illness. “Laughter was the road to recovery. My doctor told me to wait until the next flair to come to the office. I didn’t want to wait.” She noted that stress was one of the main factors for flair-ups. “Laughter was a conduit for reducing stress.”

Laughter Yoga is beneficial to both your brain and physical body. Your mood will immediately improve and soon you will be laughing more. It is like a cardio workout bringing oxygen to the body and brain, making you feel more energetic and relaxed. It actually helps to tighten your core muscles, too. By reducing stress, the immune system is strengthened, helping to keep you from getting sick and heal a lot quicker. It also helps reduce blood pressure.

The positive energy helps you connect with others and in turn helps others. It is contagious and it just makes you happy. Do you ever notice that when you are in a room full of strangers, you gravitate to those who smile or seem cheerful?

Everyone can laugh when life is good, but how do you cope when faced with challenges? It is not wrong to laugh even if you have to work at it. You can fool the brain into thinking it is a real laugh. In rough times, it can help give you the hope and optimism needed to cope. The best part about laughter is that it is free and can be practiced anywhere and anytime.

According to Janet Noah, who is the Director of Community Relations at The Bridges, “We regularly offer educational workshops to our residents, families and the greater community throughout the year. Laughter yoga promotes health and wellness to people of all ages.”

So remember, laugh, make someone else laugh and hug three people today.

If you would like more information about Dr. Gold, visit http://dgoli.com/, call 379-7092 or visit on Facebook at Dr. Gold’s Optimal Living Institute.