WHO’S TANAZ BAMBOAT
Tanaz Bamboat is a Laughter Yoga coach, a dynamic and inspirational speaker and has given seminars at hospitals, senior communities, health clubs, banks, peace centers, schools, libraries and parks.
As a Bipolar Disorder survivor she teaches people experiencing stress or other mental health issues to learn to laugh voluntarily, even in the absence of any humorous stimuli, and even when you don’t feel like laughing, and reap the extraordinary, scientifically proven benefits for their physical, mental, emotional and social wellness simultaneously.
Tanaz was featured on WGN-TV (Chicago Channel 9), WYIN Lakeshore Public Television, WCIU in Chicago, ECTV, Times website nwi.com, the Post Tribune, Get Healthy magazine, Shore Magazine, Esperanza magazine, Current Psychiatry journal & 89.1FM Lake shore radio station.
Her mission is to help the sick and depressed bounce back laughing so that they can get their life back and live a fulfilled and happy life.
SPREADING LAUGHTER YOGA HELPED ME REGAIN MY MENTAL HEALTH.
Too often we underestimate the power of a hug, a smile, a hearty laugh, or the smallest act of caring, all which have the potential to turn a life around.
With so much power to heal and the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a gift and a tremendous resource for supporting both physical and mental well-being, surmounting adversities and enhancing relationships.
As a ten-year survivor of bipolar disorder, the #1 thing that I feel contributed to my success was finding something to focus on, that took my mind off my bipolar disorder, and gave me something new and exciting to look forward to.
That focus for me was LAUGHTER YOGA 4 U.
Overcoming a mental illness takes hard work, patience, perseverance, prayers, faith in a higher power, medications, treatments and much more. The stigma attached to mental illnesses, prevents people from getting help, and many lives have been lost in suffering silently.
I understand sadness, fear, the feelings of anxiety, low-self- esteem, lethargy hopelessness, loneliness, the torture of constant worrying, and sleepless nights, because,….I ….have been there. Because of my suffering, I cannot stop myself from wanting to help the sick and depressed, and let them know there is light at the end of the tunnel, that they are not alone and we can help ourselves to get our life back. I want all individuals, companies and health care providers to be aware of the benefits of LAUGHTER YOGA and promote it as a great complimentary therapy.
1998—-2018… (Too blessed to be depressed)
My story is that of a pumpkin in a patch who was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and had stopped laughing for more than six months (I mean the laughter that soothes the soul, and you feel uninhibited, carefree and enjoying life to its fullest)
One day God picked me up, brought me in, and washed all the dirt off me. Then HE cut off the top, and scooped out all the yucky stuff. He removed the seeds of anxiety, hopelessness, loneliness, depression, pain and much more. HE carved two eyes and a smiling face and put HIS light inside me to shine for all the world to see.
In 1998, in my late forties, I was going through a dark period of my life and had completely stopped laughing for days. Days turned into weeks and more than six months.
I read jokes, inspirational books, watched funny movies, volunteered at a hospital and joined a line dancing class, as I loved to dance. I was treated by my Psychiatrist, Dr. Nasr and had to take medications and different therapies. I wondered what my future would be and was wanting to know the meaning of my life, and my purpose.
I bless the day in 2004, when I read in my Indian newspaper that Dr. Kataria from India was coming to Chicago for a day certification for Laughter Yoga, a movement he had started in 1995 and is now being practiced in more than 110 countries in the world. He explained the daily practice of Laughter Yoga benefits for our Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. The laughter is initiated as an exercise in response to a choice and willingness to laugh and not in response to jokes, comedy, humor or any other outside stimuli. It is not the laughter for amusement, defiance or scorn. Practicing laughter yoga on a daily basis for 10—15 minutes enhances our innate and infinite ability to utilize laughter and play to improve our and others mental health and social well-being.
In a group the laughter is contagious, sustained and hearty. How you feel or what your circumstances are does not matter. Laughter and other positive emotions can trigger the release of endorphins which are the hormones for releasing stress, are antidepressants and reduce pain. When we laugh our brain chemistry changes, we give a distance to our problems, it changes our perspective. The good thing about laughter yoga is that laughing (even when depressed) is a skill and can be learnt.
The yogic breathing that accompanies the belly laughter, brings in more oxygen to our body and gives us more energy and vitality. When we are laughing with others we are living in the moment. While regulating our breathing, laughter helps us to connect to ourselves, it opens our hearts and minds,
I even joined Chinmaya mission, a school for Vedantic studies where we learnt that within us is a spring of all joy. Ignorance of our essentially happy nature is the cause of all unease and pain.
Seek within—–the answer is within you.
Swamiji Sharananadaji was the only one who encouraged me to continue teaching Laughter yoga for free as no one knew about Laughter yoga in 2004. He advised me to meditate every day and I was further interested in guided meditations of Acharya Viveckji. A friend came daily to practice meditation and reading scriptures. I learnt how to relax and keep my mind calm and free from negative thoughts.
At any moment, when you look outside yourself and focus on what someone else needs, you can begin to see what you can do to help……Fulfilling that need gets your mind off yourself and gives you a purpose. It increases your self worth and gives you a larger sense of meaning.
If you want to FIND yourself…….. you must LOSE yourself in the service of other…..Mahatma Gandhi.
Giving back or helping others is the ultimate happiness boost.
I started a Laughter club in 2006 with my friends. I gave free sessions at libraries, hospitals, universities, senior communities, orphanages and facilitated more than hundreds of workshops. I was lucky enough to be on CHICAGO Channel 9 in their medical watch section in the first month of starting the free club. I was on other local channels, newspapers ,Esperanza magazine, Current Psychiatry journal and radio. When I saw other people laughing and having a great time, I realized that I had found my purpose and meaning in life that was aligned to my strengths and values. My goal to help others lighted up my life with a spark that burns with passion. I went to India in 2007 and trained with Dr. Kataria as a Laughter yoga teacher and have certified Laughter leaders to spread the awareness of the benefits of LAUGHTER YOGA.
The past 10 years have been beyond what I would have imagined a few years back. I feel energized, focused, better version of my previous self and learnt to face life with clarity and resilience.,
My hope is that an increase in awareness of Laughter yoga can help strengthen relationships, reduce stigma, misunderstandings and improve support systems for those will mental illness.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to live with bipolar disorder for the rest of your life. Because it is not true. You can take your life back. I did.