Anybody that follows my blog and videos knows that I am a proud laughter yogi and that loving others, laughing with others, and spreading the word about laughter yoga is a great passion of mine. However, an equal love of mine is mathematics, and I have been working in math education for many years teaching at the collegiate level and working as a math expert for various institutions. That’s right – a mathemagician by day and a laughamagician by night (yes, sometimes I like to make up words – I hope that doesn’t make you discomfortable)! 🙂
At any rate, when I was teaching in the classroom, I observed that test anxiety was a regular, albeit unfortunate, occurrence for many students in all subject areas – especially so in math courses. Of course, when I started practicing laughter yoga, and even more so when I became certified in leading laughter yoga and learned more about all of its benefits, I began wondering if laughter could possibly help students with this obstacle of pre-test jitters and support them towards a more pleasant test-taking experience, and hence, better test results.
Reduction in stress and anxiety is a well-known effect of laughter yoga. From this, I created the hypothesis that taking part in laughter yoga before an exam would likely benefit students by decreasing their stress and anxiety levels before that test, allowing them to take the test with more ease and relaxation, which also means better focus, improved concentration, and increased creativity – all of which are greatly coveted by individuals about to take an exam.
The results showed that both the stress and anxiety scores of participants in the study were drastically reduced after participating in a laughter yoga session. Thus, from this study, it was concluded that laughter therapy was a valuable and effectual approach to substantially reducing anxiety and stress in university students.
Because this study was looking to analyze the effects of laughter therapy on university students overall (not just with test anxiety), they saw the fact that the results only indicated the instant effects of laughter therapy for students as a limitation of the experiment. However, for my own hypothesis regarding laughter and test anxiety, this is actually a plus. Seeing that the study showed that laughter yoga does, in fact, reduce stress and anxiety in university students after a 20-minute laughter yoga session, even if it is in the short-term, one could conclude that doing laughter yoga immediately before an exam could significantly reduce test anxiety, help students towards a smoother test-taking experience, and improve test performance as a result.
Though this study wasn’t geared towards test anxiety specifically, it does give a convincing indication that laughter yoga would be a wonderful addition to a teacher’s lesson plan before giving an exam or to a student’s normal pre-exam regimen to help calm students and relieve any fears or worries about their performance or the test outcome. I can’t speak for other educators, but I know what I’ll be incorporating into my classroom (and testing further) the next time I’m teaching ground courses again – LAUGHTER YOGA, ha ha ha ha ha!
Follow along with my blog and videos to learn more and to experience all of the benefits of laughter yoga for yourself! Sending love and laughter to all of you!