Every time Mr Van Ram, a gelotologist and founder of Maximum Wellness Singapore, holds a laughter yoga session for his clients, he never fails to feel positive and relaxed. The same applies to the participants.
His sessions combine laughter with yoga exercise and breathing techniques. Laughing calms a person, clears his mind and helps him feel less stressed, he said.
This is why stressed-out folks should practise laughing at home to destress, he added.
"Start by looking at your family and friends or use a mirror if you are alone, and play upbeat music," Mr Ram advised.
"Get one person to lead the group. You can start with the shy or nervous laughter to get everyone in the mood for laughing, before proceeding to do hearty laughs."
As the body cannot tell the difference between real and voluntary laughter,we get the same health benefits, psychological and physiological, from both types of laughter, he said.
Alternatively, practising simple relaxation techniques can help take away some of the festive stress.
HOW TO DO IT YOURSELF
Start by looking at your family and friends or use a mirror if you are alone, and play upbeat music. Get one person to lead the group. You can start with the shy or nervous laughter to get everyone in the mood for laughing, before proceeding to do hearty laughs.
MR VAN RAM, on practising laughing at home.
"Stop for a moment, breathe in slowly and imagine taking in all the good energy, breathe out slowly and imagine that all the stress and tiredness leave their bodies as they breathe out," suggested Mr Mah Siew Chung, a clinical psychologist with the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics (NHGP).
Or try listening to guided stress-reduction CDs or audio tracks, such as those from NHGP's psychology services (http://www.nhgp.com.sg/Our_Care_Team).
Mr Mah also suggested practising compassion, forgiveness and gratitude. Studies show that people who do so are less vulnerable to intense stress reactions, he added.