The Medicine of Laughter

Laughter heals. The longer you practice it, the better you get.

The writer of Proverbs 17:22 said, "A happy heart is good medicine."

Or, as G.K. Chesterton once wrote, "Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly."

I know this first-hand in my therapy hour.

The first sessions people are usually filled with negativity and depression. Sad. Frowning. Disappointed. Confused by circumstances.

They're mostly fearful of life, and things about it. Afraid to love, of even wanting to love again.

Then, something happens when I introduce laughter.

With it, the climate is noticeably different. Patients open up. They share details they'd rather omit or avoid in the past. Troubled thoughts and feelings become easier to handle with right doses of humor.

Laughter is medicine.

I can say that wounded individuals are able to better mend or recover from a host of different illnesses - physical, nonphysical - when they learn to laugh.

Such experience disengages fear because it helps change perspective.

Just awhile ago, Patricia and Edward were all smiles during our marital therapy session.

With a playful perspective, they're able to remove themselves from their marital problems that debilitated both of them with anger, fear, and anxiety.

Their laughter created a healing distance between a situation and their reactions.

Indeed, we all can do well if we follow author-therapist Leo Buscaglia's prescription:

"When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. And swing!"