S2 E2: Laughter, Trauma, Chronic Illness, Recovery, Resilience & Life Lessons with Cathy Moore

S2 E2: Laughter, Trauma, Chronic Illness, Recovery, Resilience & Life Lessons with Cathy Moore

In the latest episode of the Enlightened by Aoife Podcast we have the lovely guest Cathy 

Cathy bravely talks about how she found laughter yoga during her recovery from Breast Cancer. She went to a conference organised by @TheIrishCancerSociety and tried Laughter Yoga herself and as she says herself hasn't stopped laughing since. From knowing Cathy personally I can back her up. She always seems to embody calm, realistic positivity and the lighter side of life. 


She found a place to be herself to accept, learn, laugh and let go which allowed her to heal and grow into such an inspiring strong and compassionate woman. 


Learning to laugh again when struggling with depression can be a real challenge, but not impossible. We chat about facing the internal critic that is a barrier to getting out of a depressive cycle as Cathy says herself 'life is so much better when you're laughing'.


An interesting thing is the body does know the difference between real and induced "fake" laughter. Therefore it releases the happiness hormones into the brain having a positive impact on our physical and mental well-being 


Some of the benefits to Laughter Yoga are it;

💜Releases endorphins such a serotonin (happiness chemical)

💜Boosts our immune system - exhaling for longer so we're removing toxins out of the lungs by doing pranayama also known as breath of life 🫁 

💜Boosts our energy 🔋 

💜Improves our mood

💜Teaches you to heal yourself, release and let go 

💜Challenges our self limiting beliefs and internal critics


History of Laughter Yoga

🧘🏻‍♀️ First practiced in March 1995 in Mumbai 

🧘🏻‍♀️ Founded by Dr. Madan Kataria, a medical doctor started with just 5 people in a public park. 

🧘🏻‍♀️The participants experienced enormous health benefits that are now backed by science and the practice is growing world-wide.

🧘🏻‍♀️ His finding supports a critical theory in laughter yoga which is that our body can't distinguish between voluntary and involuntary laughter, giving us the same benefits either way. 


I link this back to the Distress Tolerance skill Half-Smile taught in DBT. How if we smile it starts to trick the brain into feeling better and how our behaviour can affect our mood. 


We also talk about how we all feel like a bit of an eejit and self conscious when we start to practice these skills as they are out of our comfort zone but how the benefits are are worth the initial discomfort. 


We talk about the shame and stigma that still surround mental illness in Ireland and how important it is to have an authentic conversation about mental health and the coping skills I've learnt in therapy. We hope this helps people recognise that they have depression or anxiety, how to accept it, being kind to ourselves and finding our own way to heal yourself.


We all have a mental health tool box that is build up with skills and techniques to better manage our emotions that we build up over time. 


We delve into the struggle of doing things we know will make us feel better when we are down, the challenges we all face and how to overcome them. Once we have the awareness you can pull yourself up quicker and but safety nets in place to stop us slipping as far as fast. It's scary at first but gets much easier overtime .


Our Camino journey, expectations of ourselves, the impact yoga and listening to our body had on our pilgrimage. Cathy admits she is one of the more mature ladies of the group finished without a blister while I'm the youngest and in a medical boot just coming to the end of healing all the blisters. Little did I know I had hairline fractures and ligament damage in my right foot recording this. You can see the limp in the promo video on the @enlightenedbyaoife instagram. 


We talk about the group of 7 women we went with, some of whom we met for the first time in the airport. We look at the support, encouragement and gifts that each and everyone of the group brings to the table and how we lift each other up. We touch on self-belief, self-worth and setting our standards for to love and value our ourselves 


Cathy bravely talks about going from a marriage into a breakup, realising that what she hoped for was never going to work out, a long drawn out divorce, raring 2 children, re-buying her house, getting a chronic life changing illness, ending up in hospital, undergoing reconstructive surgery and then to be diagnosed with breast cancer. 


She talks about how she couldn't have done it without her circle of support, her family. She shares the roles her family played to help her get through an extremely difficult period of her life where it was literally life or death. She explains what it was like to receive and accept help and find self-compassion, self-love which helped her realise her self-worth 


Her mindset, grit, grace and sheer appreciation of life is a testament to her incredible, resilient and just down right inspirational character. She helps so many people around her, myself included and I've no doubt her light will continue to shine and provide hope and healing for others. 


Honestly I feel this podcast is raw, honest and real that a lot of us can relate to. It shows that we can get through the darkest of times and come out the other end stronger. 


I hope you enjoy this episode and we would really appreciate it if you could leave a review, share on your stories or to a friend, all the likes, love and comments make a huge difference and I'm really grateful for the support so far! 


Wishing you hope and healing,


Buen Camino, 


Aoife x

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