In the modern world full of stress due to numerous socioeconomic issues and the constant state of competition, there is a need for therapy affordable to any person. To improve one’s quality of life and reduce stress and depression, modern therapists resort to a simple tool known to everyone – laughter. The mental health of people depends directly on their internal state and the ability to relax and thus reduce the negative impact of external circumstances. In this case, laughter aims to complement traditional therapy to get faster and better results in healing. Moreover, laugher can be used for pedagogical purposes, thereby improving people’s general wellbeing.
The principal condition, under which the improvements in mental health and pedagogy are possible, is the presence of a group of people as laughter is a collective tool, not an individual one. Bergson et al. (1911) claim that one needs to be in a company to laugh at a joke, or otherwise, he or she would not have a desire to laugh at all. When patients are in the company of others with similar problems, they are quickly involved in the treatment and eager to join in other people’s jokes. Therefore, to successfully perform the treatment procedures or implement training programs with the use of such tools as laughter, there is a need for a group of people with similar issues or, in the case of educational programs, motivation to study.
The benefits of laughter can be seen not only in practical researches of educators but also explained from a medical point of view. According to Yim (2016), such a tool as laughter helps to overcome stress due to the increase in dopamine, serotonin, and other hormones, which leads to better results in overcoming depression. This fact makes laughter therapy an excellent addition to traditional therapeutic methods. This type of alternative treatment is easily accessible and does not require any special equipment, which makes it even more valuable.
In the case of implementation of laughter in educational programs or so-called humourous pedagogy, the group members tend to be more relaxed and friendly towards each other, when the educator uses jokes while teaching them. For example, in feminist pedagogy, laughter is a powerful tool, which deconstructs sexism, racism, and heterosexism and, therefore, helps the students to avoid violence. This technique ensures people get sexual pleasure without any obstacles, such as sexist or racist views of other people (Kolenz & Branfman, 2019). As a result, humor and laughter facilitate the learning process and teach people how to resist oppression. The use of this technique, together with the essential educational tools, allows professors to obtain better results and distracts the people in the group from being too serious in the learning process.
The general impact of humor and laughter in pedagogy lies in its potential for overcoming various obstacles such as excessive timidity and gaining positive experience in the educational process. The inclusion of entertaining elements during the classes leads to distraction from any obstacles preventing a student from receiving necessary information and enhances learning. A joke from the teacher always attracts attention to his or her words and makes the educational process more effective. Moreover, laughter contributes to the creation of a friendly student community and the exchange of opinions on the studied materials after the class.
Laughter is a type of therapy is a powerful tool that enables patients to recover from various mental diseases. The research conducted by Kopytin and Lebedev (2015) revealed how the implementation of humor in clinical art therapy in the group of war veterans helped them to express their issues. For this category of patients, humor is a tool, which serves as a defense mechanism while coping with stressful situations at war.
This characteristic, common to all of the soldiers, consequently contributes to their recovery from traumatic war experiences. Therefore, laughter as a treatment tool can be used in the case of all categories of patients with mental diseases deriving from previous stressful situations.
In addition to its use in severe cases of mental issues, laughter and humor are the techniques, which help to deal with some mild problems such as anxiety, stress, or depression. For example, the inclusion of laughter in yoga practice helps to reduce tension and lower blood pressure. It also decreases the level of stress hormones, ACTH, and cortisol (Tanaka et al., 2018). Such a simple tool as laughter yoga increases the positive emotions of people able to laugh for no particular reason. The benefits of this type of yoga make it an effective method of stress management, and it can also be used by healthy people to maintain their mental health. This technique would be most beneficial for people of the professions connected to constant stress, such as medical personnel.
The use of laughter and humor for therapeutical purposes enhances the recovery of patients from mental diseases. Groups of people with similar issues might use this simple technique together with traditional therapy to obtain better results. However, it is useful not only for those who already have some mental issues but also for the people who have stressful jobs such as doctors and nurses. Even the ones with no mental issues can benefit from methods, including laughter. In addition to its implementation in the area of mental health, humor and laughter are incredibly beneficial for the studying process as well.
Bergson, H., Brereton, C. S. H., & Rothwell, F. (1911). Laughter: An essay on the meaning of the comic. Macmillan.
Kolenz, K. A., & Branfman, J. (2019). Laughing to sexual education: Feminist pedagogy of laughter as a model for holistic sex-education. Sex Education, 1-14. Web.
Kopytin, A., & Lebedev, A. (2015). Therapeutic functions of humour in group art therapy with war veterans. International Journal of Art Therapy, 20(2), 40–53. Web.
Tanaka, A., Tokuda, N., & Ichihara, K. (2018). Psychological and physiological effects of laughter yoga sessions in Japan: A pilot study. Nursing & Health Sciences. Web.
Yim, J. (2016). Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health: A Theoretical Review. The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, 239(3), 243–249. Web.