At BNC Publishing’s Executive Housekeepers Conference on 21 November, Suman Suneja, founder of Laughing Souls showcased how laughing yoga – a practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter – can reduce physical and mental stress after a hard day of housekeeping.
Research has shown that housekeeping is one of the most stressful occupations in the hotel industry, being both physically demanding and time sensitive.
While a well-designed workplace, with proper tools and technology can ease the physical strain of housekeeping, dealing with the mental stress of cleaning a number of rooms within strict time constraints is a different challenge.
Delegates at the Executive Housekeepers Conference were first shown a video on how laughter can reduce stress, before taking part in a practical session, which involved clapping, breathing exercises and a lot of laughter.
According to Suneja, laughter is the best medicine but there’s more to a good giggle than raising our spirits for a couple of minutes. In fact, laughter has been shown to have many beneficial effects on the human body in different ways.
The 10 health benefits of laughter
- Reduces stress: Laughing activates your stress response by reducing stress hormones such as cortisol, leaving you with a relaxed feeling. Laughing provides a full body work out for your muscles and stimulates blood circulation. This in turn reduces some of the physical symptoms of stress
- Protects the heart: People that laugh on a regular basis have lower blood pressure than the average person. When you have a good laugh your blood pressure increases at first but then it decreases to levels below normal. Laughter has been found to benefit the way blood flows around the body reducing the likelihood of heart disease. Fifteen minutes of laughter a day is as important as 30 minutes of exercise three times a week.
- Boosts the immune system: If you have a weak immune system you can improve it with a regular dose of laughter. Research has shown that regular laughter helps boost the immune system by decreasing stress hormones and increasing antibodies in the blood to ward of infections.
- Relieves pain: Laughter works as a natural pain killer. Fifteen minutes of laughter can increase pain tolerance by 10% as a result of endorphins being released in the brain. These create something akin to a natural high leading to pleasant feeling of calm.
- Improves sleep quality and reduces insomnia: Scientific research has shown that laughter can improve our sleep patterns by relaxing the mind and body. It has even been shown to improve the effects of insomnia treatments.
- Improves your social life: If you can make people laugh you’re likely to have more friends because everyone loves a joker. You’re also likely to achieve more at work; If you have a good sense of humour you’ll be more productive, a better communicator and a team player.
- Helps you lose weight: A hearty chuckle raises the heart rate and speeds up the metabolism so think about adding laughter to your exercise regime.
- Keeps you young: A daily dose of laughter can make you look younger. When you smile and laugh, as many as 15 facial muscles work together which increases the blood flow around the face making you look younger and healthier.
- Positively effects the creative process: Laughter has many effects on the chemical processes in the body and the combination of reduced stress hormones, increased endorphins and increased oxygenation to the blood and brain causes an increase in creativity by improving the overall brain health and bolstering its support system, so both hemispheres can work together more efficiently so that creativity has a place to foster and grow.
- Improved memory: It’s well known that sleep plays a major role in memory and learning. A clear, alert brain allows us to focus, learn and remember information and to be creative. On the other hand when we’re sleepy we make mistakes and are less productive at school and at work. Healthy sleep puts us in the right state of mind to take in information and retain it in the long term.
The Executive Housekeepers Conference, presented by DU, took place at Conrad Hotel Dubai on 21 November with more than 130 housekeepers in attendance.
The event was supported by: Presenting Sponsor, Du; Workshop Sponsor, FCS Computer Systems; Guest Supply; Renarte LLC; A. Ronai LLC; Silentnight UAE LLC; UPI; Bahraja General Trading LLC; Hanse; TCL, Room Operations and Kraft Procurement.