Is Laughter the Best Medicine?

Is Laughter the Best Medicine?

We live in a serious world.

We have serious jobs.

And responsibilities.

I would NEVER suggest we should joke around and be silly all the time.

But that being said, humour and playfulness are often underrated; used appropriately, laughter and joy can be powerful forces for good, providing energy and inspiration, motivation and innovation …

via Psychology Today by Daniel Fryer

KEY POINTS

  • In positive psychology, humour is a character strength.
  • Negative humour increases pathological worry and decreases wellbeing.
  • Positive humour decreases pathological worry and increases wellbeing.
  • Mental illness could be exacerbated by the absence, or the overuse, of character strengths.

Positive psychology puts a lot of emphasis on character strengths. These are a series of positive attributes that make up a person’s character, with the idea being that if you play to yours, you can enhance your mood and sense of wellbeing at both an individual and a community level.

There are 24 strengths all told, including creativity, love of learning, bravery, persistence, kindness, love, fairness, forgiveness, modesty, and humour. But you must use them wisely.

When it comes to humour and its effects upon our mental health and wellbeing, a study, Humour and anxiety: The relationship between comic styles, worry and general wellbeing, published at the end of last year in Personality and Individual Differences, found that people who use humour to arouse sympathy for human imperfections or act silly to make others laugh tend to experience less pathological worry. 1

However, Dionigi and his fellow authors also discovered a dark side to humour. Those that use negative comedy (such as cynicism) tended to report higher levels of pathological worry, and lower levels of psychological wellbeing.

Other types of humour (such as wit, irony, sarcasm, and nonsense) appeared to be mostly unrelated to worry and wellbeing.

“Humour is not a unitary concept,” said one of the paper’s authors, Alberto Dionigi. “It may have both positive and negative facets.”

Dionigi (who is a member of the International Society of Humour Studies) is a cognitive behaviour therapist (CBT) with a keen interest in the use of humour…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE