All About Laughter

Laughter serves weightier purposes than turning noses into milk spigots. More than merely a side-effect of mirth, it acts as a sophisticated social signaling system, helping people bond and even negotiate status. Consider that most social laughter does not result from any obvious joke.

Yukking it up also has numerous health benefits: It lowers anxiety, boosts the immune system, and aids circulation. These contagious convulsions are anything but frivolous.

Recent Posts on Laughter

Blathering, the Game

By Bernard L. De Koven on August 04, 2015 in On Having Fun
We could blather about issues disturbingly profound and teasingly inane, free associating with what- and whomever whilst we freely associate.

The Fun Assumption

By Bernard L. De Koven on July 29, 2015 in On Having Fun
Suppose you supposed that the only reason you laugh is because it’s fun to laugh. Not because of the endorphins or the health benefits. But only because of the fun. Only because it’s more fun than you can contain.

The Spirituality of Comedian Jim Breuer

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on July 16, 2015 in Brick by Brick
Many people know Jim Breuer as one of the greatest standup comedian of all time. What many people do not know is that he uses comedy as well as spirituality to help cope with difficult situations. He shares how both comedy and faith have helped him get through hard times.

Extraordinary Fun

By Bernard L. De Koven on July 13, 2015 in On Having Fun
There are games we play just for fun. We laugh together. We become unpredictable, unpackaged, opened to an experience that is, when you think about it, when you compare it to our national pastimes, truly extraordinary.

A Little Good News for a Change

Many studies have shown that couples who enjoy long-term, fulfilling relationships, also tend to experience enhanced self-esteem, clarity of life purpose, a tendency to view things optimistically, and generally, better health.

Did Paleo Man have Drug or Drinking Problems?

By Donna Barstow on June 26, 2015 in Ink Blots Cartoons
Mental illness and mental health are not modern. What did cavemen (sorry, Paleo man) do about it?

This May Be the Secret to Happiness in Relationships

You may think the best way to deepen your relationship is to have serious, deep discussions about your thoughts and feelings. However, it may be that sharing a smile rather than deep feelings can be as good, if not better, for your relationship’s long-term health.

Aerobic Laughing: A New Weight Loss Plan

Just like all of us, I've been captivated by Caitlyn Jenner's courageous transformation. She inspired me to take a look at my own body and finally find a way to become the skinny person I've always wanted to be—via laughter.

Watching a Play about Anorexia

By Emily T. Troscianko on May 27, 2015 in A Hunger Artist
The benefits and dangers of creating art out of illness.

Reassessing Asperger's

A person with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) has difficulty with Theory of Mind: our ability to appreciate another person's point of view. But AS people can be very adept at noticing what people think and feel about them. This is a different perspective on perspective: that we are more interested in what people think or feel about us and later about what they think or feel.

Lessons in Speaking From The Heart

By Greg O'Brien on May 12, 2015 in On Pluto
Laughter can be a powerful antidote to dementia—the pain, conflict, and stress of it. A good laugh, doctors say, reduces tension and can leave muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes. Laughter boosts the immune system, decreases stress hormones, and triggers the release of endorphins—the natural drug of choice.

Black Comedians Poke Fun at Racial Stereotypes

Black Comedians Poke Fun at Racial Stereotypes. The comedian’s goal is to get us to laugh with him while laughing at him. By Michelle Stephens, PhD

Smartphones for Dummies—and Young People

You've hemmed and you've hawed, but finally you've given in and bought your child a smartphone. Now, the challenge begins: how do you ensure that he or she uses it wisely? Here are 10 guidelines to promote respectful, responsible use of your child’s new gadget.

The 4 Styles of Humor

What do you find funny, and what sort of humor appeals to you? Research has focused on different humor styles, and distinguishes four types.

Tired of Being 'Stuck' in Your Relationship?

There is an art to creating and embracing change so you can reinvigorate your relationship.

Body Smart

Your diaphragm plays a huge role in your tension and relaxation.

Redditor to Redditor

Young men are finding new ways to reach out to each other and older generations for advice and mentorship.

10 Signs of True Love

Two selfish creatures committing to a life partnership need an ironic frame.

Loving the Process Means Everything for Creativity

By Gregory Ciotti on April 13, 2015 in Habits, Not Hacks
Artists must enjoy the process of creation for its own sake.

Add Humor to Your Job and Boost Your Career

Take the brave step of experimenting with more well-placed humor at your job. By going outside your normal comfort zone with some easy-to-follow tips, you may develop a much more appealing work environment for yourself, and advance your career.

12 Ways to Replenish Your Energy

By Marcia Reynolds Psy.D. on April 11, 2015 in Wander Woman
Do you feel exhausted at the end of the day, with little energy left for family and friends? This post will help you look at what you do that leaves you feeling drained, and then provides tips for revitalizing yourself so you have energy left for the evening.

Let’s Play: How the Science of the Brain Is Changing Therapy

I recently attended a conference at UCLA entitled: Play, Creativity, Mindfulness and Neuroscience in Psychotherapy. The conference offered an approach that has been gaining increasing importance, namely that: “Throughout the lifespan, play supports neurological growth and development while building complex, skilled, flexible, responsive and socially adept brains."

Why Inappropriate Laughter Is Often Contagious

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on April 08, 2015 in The Squeaky Wheel
The worst case of inappropriate laughter I've ever seen—can you resist giggling when you see it?

Should We Be Upset By Trevor Noah’s Controversial Tweets?

Trevor Noah is in hot water over a few not-so-hot tweets. The South African comic came under fire after Comedy Central announced he would replace Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show. His offense: tweets that targeted Jews and women. What are your reactions to his posts? (Spoiler alert: fat chicks and Jewish women— be prepared to bristle. Proceed with caution...)

Cultural Differences

While attributing human characteristics to animals is cute in movies, and potentially a cause of misunderstanding between the species, it can be useful to help humans understand our 'cultural differences'.

The Shared Joy of Holiday Cooking

By Zanthe Taylor M.F.A. on April 02, 2015 in A Million Meals
A holiday meal has the benefit of allowing you to cook for an occasion that has two rare qualities—time and respect—built in.

Laugh Your Way to a Six Pack (Mentally and Physically)

Why are children so much happier and healthier than adults? Because they laugh about 200 times a day. Understand the real science behind laughter here and realise why you should make laughing a priority.

Infantasy: The Dream of Unconditional Love Never Dies Young

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 31, 2015 in Ambigamy
Romantic love and confirmation of our social worth are complexly tangled.

Does Everyone Really Love a Joker? (Does Anyone?)

Every school classroom seems to have a class clown—the nightmare of most teachers. However, we know very little about what happens to them when they enter the world of work, home, and community. When they grow up, these “wits” or jokesters can also create havoc to the other adults who inhabit their world.

7 Ways to Combat Facebook Jealousy

By Andrea Bonior Ph.D. on March 31, 2015 in Friendship 2.0
Many of us are trapped in a cycle of seeking out social media almost automatically when we're bored or stressed. Sometimes, though, it can do more harm than good—especially if it spurs on jealousy. Here are seven ways to break free.