Laughter as Therapy

Laughter is and always will bethe best
I love to laugh. There is nothing better than laughing to the point that your stomach hurts or seeing the humor in an event that lightens the mood. Laughter has pulled me through some of the darkest moments of my life and has been the center of the happiest moments of my life.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be someone who has laughed most of my life. One of the greatest compliments I have been given is that I have a great laugh. It’s been helpful to hear this over the years because at times I have been around individuals who were not totally comfortable laughing. When someone who loves to laugh is surrounded by those who hold it in, it can be uncomfortable. Over the years I have begun to not let it bother me and laugh anyway despite some of the looks I may have seen. 

As a counselor, it may surprise you that there is often a lot of laughter in many of my sessions. I encourage my clients to laugh; to find the humor in the situation, in the individuals they are with and at life in general.

  • Laughing is as healing as tears. 
  • Laughter is truly beneficial. 
  • Laughter is good for your health. 
  • Laughter is beneficial. 
When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boosts your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Laughter is being used in cancer treatment centers around the country as well as some treatments for depression.
  • Laughter can decrease distressing emotions.  It’s not possible to feel anxious, angry or sad when you’re laughing. One of the funniest moments during my Mom’s treatment was when she awoke from a surgery and when asked if she was hungry stated, “I want steak.” The funny part was she stated it in the same tone and voice that Homer Simpson stated in an episode James and I had just watched. We both laughed.
  • Laughter helps you relax and recharge. Taking time to laugh can reduce stress and increase energy. You are often able to accomplish more and stay more focused. Watch a funny YouTube video or share a joke with a coworker or friend. 
  • Humor shifts perspective.  There are times in life when things simply get too serious. Humor allows you to see situations in a more realistic light. A different perspective allows you psychological distance and can help you not feel overwhelmed. When I worked as a Hospice employee, I always warned my new students that they would be hearing laughter from the employees and this was a way of coping with the daily stress of the job. 
Do you have enough laughter in your life? Do you know what makes you laugh? 
 
This week I challenge you to try to laugh at least once per day. Find humor in a situation. Laugh at yourself for doing something silly. Watch a favorite comedy sitcom or movie. See if you feel different after you allow yourself to laugh. 
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7 Comments

  1. Emma R on April 4, 2015 at 9:32 am

    I totally agree the finding humor helps shift perspective. I’ve noticed there is lots of laughter in my therapy sessions as my therapist tries to get me to see the lighter/funnier side of situations I’m going through.

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on April 4, 2015 at 10:25 am

      I’m so glad Emma. Sometimes everything begins to feel so serious and when we step back we are able to truly see things from a different perspective. I’ve had a few clients who in the beginning of our relationship were no where near being able to laugh at anything and they sometimes become the ones who are able to laugh the most after working through their “stuff”. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Jen - Pierced Wonderings on April 5, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    One of the things that my husband promised in his wedding vows was that he would always make me laugh. He does that well…and it is important for me because that shift in perspective is critical for me. I know (& he knows) that I tend towards the negative and it’s easy for me to go down that road. But. Laughing really does make it better.

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on April 5, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      I am like you and am married to a guy who knows how to make me laugh and does so on a regular basis – we often have a “sick” sense of humor but it works for us. I’m so glad your husband makes sure you can see the lighter side of things!

  3. Sarah @ Sometimesphotojenik on April 7, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Oh my gosh AMEN to this post! If there is anything I know, it is the power of humor in daily life. My family was always one to always be cracking up around the dinner table every single night at something or other. My husband’s family is a little bit more reserved and don’t laugh as much and I really miss it. Alex and I get in our fair share of laughing though- our favorite thing is to watch funny Youtube videos!

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on April 7, 2015 at 7:54 am

      My husband’s family is the same way – more reserved. Fortunately, my husband didn’t get that trait and he’s always making me laugh somehow or the other. Seriously, what did we do without YouTube and all that we can access whenever we need it?

      • Sarah @ Sometimesphotojenik on April 9, 2015 at 2:17 am

        I agree! That and Google! What was it like when you just didn’t know something and couldn’t find it out in 10 seconds?? I’m not sure I could handle it haha

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