Laughter courses online and by phone

Humor is when you laugh despite the Corona crisis - if you no longer succeed, you can fall back on a wide range of online laughter courses such as laughter yoga. Or call the "laughing phone". This can definitely help in the short term, says an expert

Breathe in deeply and try a slow “Ha, Ha, Ha” as you breathe out - even with the first exercise on the “laughing phone” it is difficult to suppress a giggle. Which is also due to the contagious laugh of the other person.

Short mood enhancers

In this case, the Hanau therapist Sandra Mandl, who belongs to the 40-strong team behind the offer that was founded around a year ago, picked up the phone. It is aimed at everyone who needs a quick mood lift. At the other end of the phone line volunteers who are trainers in so-called laughter yoga, which include relaxation, breathing and loosening exercises, among other things.

The Lach telephone number, which can be reached twelve hours a day, called all age groups from children to very old seniors, says Mandl in the run-up to World Laughter Day on May 2nd. The idea came about before Corona, but was initially only intended for a certain group.

Offer appeals to young and old

Because of the pandemic, it became a public offer. "We were mainly looking at older people because we suspected that online offers would not be so easy to access," says the 35-year-old. But students in home schooling also got in touch and are happy when someone laughs with them. Some callers hung up, others couldn't laugh. “We practice with them,” says Mandl.

Online laughter courses are abundant in the pandemic, and Mandl also invites you to do so, as do numerous providers nationwide. Laughing should not be at the expense of others, but should be for no reason - you just start laughing, whether you feel like it or not. This is so contagious that it turns into real laughter, is an assumption in laughter yoga.

Jokes are not told, not even on the laughing phone. Instead, it's about connection, serenity and lightness, says Mandl. Allow up to three minutes per caller. At least 20, but sometimes 200, callers answered each day, many more frequently.

Humor is especially important during the pandemic

In view of loneliness, excessive demands or fear for the job in the Corona crisis, can that do anything at all? In the short term, yes, as well as being with good-humored people, which inevitably has an infectious effect, says the Berlin psychotherapist and book author on the subject of humor, Wolfgang Krüger. Laughter and humor are important right now in the pandemic.

"We need humor especially when we are unable to change things," says the psychologist. In the case of serious illnesses, painful breakups, accidents or stock market crashes, humor can help to overcome powerlessness and give a feeling of inner freedom.

He even has his place in terminal care. "Humor is a way of life, namely that I have a certain distance from the things that could annoy me," says Krüger. This included hope and confidence in being able to cope with tasks. Otherwise, there is a risk of feeling victimized and exposed and of becoming self-pitying.

Resignation, aggression or humor

In view of the ongoing crisis, there were three options: resignation, aggression - as it occurs more frequently in the Corona debate - or a different view of things with the help of humor. The abundance of caricatures and corona jokes that are in circulation show that the third possibility is being lived, says Krüger.

People who have always liked to be on the couch could now say: "So far I've always sat around, now I'm saving lives!".

Humor can be learned

For those who do not even want to achieve a mild smile at the moment, Krüger has the comforting message that humor can be learned. The psychotherapist advises you to write down what you did well every day. After 100 days you will notice that your own self-assessment has improved.

This plus in self-confidence should be used to do things that have been postponed for a long time - the tax return or writing a book. So you can experience how life can be approached more actively and finally gain the distance from annoying and unsettling things that humor makes possible.