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Laughter Therapy Is....
Everyone knows that laughter feels good –that slight buzz you get after a good belly laugh, an uptick in energy after having a good laugh with friends, family and colleagues, or the wonderful feeling that washes over you after laughing hysterically until you cry. Laughter is innate, primitive – it’s in our genes – a broad physical process that involves the whole body. Humor, although closely related, is more precise, has evolved over the centuries, and is based in the lower right frontal lobes of the brain, a part also associated with social and emotional judgment.
Precisely what is humor in therapy mean and how can it help me?
Humor is thoughtful, spontaneous and timely. It is interpretive in nature; reduces tension through laughter and eases necessary, gentle confrontation. It can enable greater insight, objectivity and perspective; it breaks through resistances otherwise closed to more direct interpretations and thereby enables more discussion of painful issues. It is a universal, shared response that teaches appropriate feelings and behavior about life and role models.
What the Science of Laughter Shows
Growing research across the world of science and academia has shown that laughter affects our physical well being. A snippet of studies have discovered that:
Laughter Therapy and its close cousin Positive Psychology are relatively new adjunct modalities of psychotherapy, growing in acceptance over the last two decades. In depth research and academic studies are quantifying the positive effects of laughter including increasing immunity, production of the feel-good hormones called endorphins, self-esteem and mental functioning. Conversely it can help reduce stress, depression, anxiety and tension.
Laughter is Universal
Multiple studies have shown high validity that laughter is universal across all known cultures on earth. One recent 2010 study of families in a remote Namibian village in Southwest Africa showed that when compared to European culture, laughter was the only positive sound recognized across both cultures. This study demonstrated that laughter: