On Laughing and Laughter
As a college student many years ago, I wrote a term paper about the Pygmies of the Congo in Africa. While researching for the paper, I came across one observation of their way of life that caused me to laugh. The anthropologist who wrote his observations while living with these people was that they would begin laughing when something struck them as funny until the laughter became so side-splitting that they rolled on the ground. Tears came rolling down their faces.
I was recently reminded that I loved seeing Jerry Lewis movies when I was a child. I would laugh so hard and loud that my laughter spread through the theater’s aisles until everyone was laughing at me laughing.
I remember a psychology class I took in college where the professor used a lot of humor in his lectures. One day, he said something that made all of us laugh. I don’t know if it was his joke, something about my mood that morning, or the atmosphere in the classroom, but I couldn’t stop laughing even after the others had. That caused the other students to resume laughing after they had stopped. For fear of being reprimanded, I looked up and was relieved to see the professor laughing along with the rest of us. I felt such warm feelings about the class and professor that I still remember it after these decades.
It is said that laughter is medicine, and the research supports that.
Most laughter is not always the result of a joke, but it is a part of being with people. For example, the health of a relationship might be measured by the amount of laughter.
There is a lot of research on the problems and conflicts that cause people to divorce or end relationships. Yet, laughter is one of the most apparent ingredients of any happy relationship. Laughter may be a symptom of how well a couple is doing. Laughter binds people together. There is a lot of laughter during the early stages of a romantic relationship. It is warm, mirthful, and spontaneous. It is possible that couples need to laugh a lot more.
It is lots of fun. Laughter is also very social. It brings people together. It brings people together because it’s contagious. Do you remember how you also yawn when you see someone yawn? When you hear someone laugh, you also laugh.
How might a couple reintroduce laughter into their relationship? The most primitive form of stimulating laughter is tickling. Not only does tickling cause laughter, but it also causes the person getting tickled to turn around and start tickling. Besides couples engaging in tickling and laughing, we love to tickle babies and children because it’s fun to see and hear them laugh and giggle.
It’s always fun to get together with people who also spontaneously laugh. Once the laughter begins, everything that happens and is said is funny.
Do you allow laughter into your life, or does everything seem too serious about being able to laugh? Just remember, we don’t laugh to solve problems. We don’t laugh to improve our health. We don’t laugh to relieve depression. It feels great when we laugh. So, let’s all get together and laugh.
Your comments and jokes are welcome.
Allan N. Schwartz, PhD
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