If laughter‘s so good for us, why is laughter in therapy—on either side of the process—sometimes regarded as bad? (Naturally, in questioning this I’m referring only to the healthy, not-hurtful kind of laughter.)
Some quotes by well-known folks who’ve appreciated laughter:
Mark Twain: When you laugh, your mind, body, and spirit change.
Madeleine L’Engle: A good laugh heals a lot of hurts.
Lord Byron: Always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine.
Bob Hope: I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.
Victor Borge: Laughter is the shortest distance between two people
Lucy Maud Montgomery: Life is worth living as long as there’s a laugh in it.
Bob Newhart: Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on.
Ethel Barrymore: You grow up on the day you have your first real laugh at yourself.
William James: We don’t laugh because we’re happy – we’re happy because we laugh.
Robert Frost: If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.
And then there’s character Daryl Stone from my own novel Minding Therapy: “I shyly laugh, inwardly praying she won’t be one of those shrinks who would rid me of my favorite coping mechanism. Sure humor’s a defense – so what?”
LET’S BACK THIS UP WITH SOME RESEARCH
For further details about any of the following snippets, click on the corresponding resource link.
Melanie Winderlich, Discovery, reports scientific reasons why laughter is healthy: it decreases stress, helps coping skills, and boosts your social skills, among other things.
Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project: “Laughter is more than just a pleasurable activity…When people laugh together, they tend to talk and touch more and to make eye contact more frequently.”
Psychologist Ofer Zur, The Zur Institute, asserts that laughter in therapy is cathartic.
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