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What is Humour and Healing

If you’re recovering from any sort of illness, a sense of humour can play a key role in your therapy. Find local mental health providers and learn how a positive attitude can help.

Local Psychologist

Kirtley Thornton

Kirtley Thornton

PhD
Psychologist
Charlotte, NC
Dr. Raja Abdel-Majid

Dr. Raja Abdel-Majid

Ph.D
Psychologist
Mississauga, ON
Ms. Lynda Mainwaring

Ms. Lynda Mainwaring

Associate Professor at the University of Toronto
Psychologist
Toronto, ON

David Granirer, counselor, discusses the humor habit.

David Granirer, counselor, discusses How Can Family Humor help You with Mental Illness.

Humor and Mental Healing

Well, in terms of helping people heal and prolong their lives, the way it works is that when you’re healing from an illness, to have a hopeful attitude.

Erich Fromm says that we’re born with hope, but that we can tend to lose our hope as we go through life, but that when we laugh and play, we feel more hopeful. Think about it. When you’re laughing and playing, you usually feel more hopeful and positive for the future.

So they did this study where they tested 126 men who had had a first-time heart attack, and they tested them all for their levels of hope. They followed them for eight years. What they found was that, in that eight-year time span, the bottom 25, the least hopeful, 21 out of 25 had died, whereas the top 25, the most hopeful, only 6 of those had died.

So there seems to be something about having a hopeful attitude which is stimulated by our sense of humor, that does something really positive for our health. I think what we can also say is that when you’re hopeful for the future, you tend to take better care of yourself, you eat right, you go to the gym, you do all those things that you’re supposed to do.

So we really need our sense of hope and our sense of humor when we’re recovering from any sort of illness. In order to explore this further, if you’re seeing a counselor or a psychologist, ask that person for advice and what they think of humor, and for some ideas of how you can get more humor in your life to create some positive outcomes.

David Granirer, counselor, discusses The Big Plus to Humor and Relationships.

The Humor Habit

Developing a humorous perspective on the world is really important.

It’s called the humor habit and it’s the ability to see those incongruities in everyday life situations. To develop the humor habit, it’s great to be able to watch standup comics, entertainers, people who make their living through looking at things through a different lens.

A good way of seeing the humor in yourself, for example, is to take some of your flaws and exaggerate them. Say you’re awkward in social situations. Instead of seeing that as a bad thing, you see it as, “I’m proud of how awkward I am in social situations.”

Talking to other people from that standpoint about how what a klutz you are and how you always blow it, and things like that is a great way of being self-deprecating and breaking the ice, and reducing the stress, and also engaging people in laughter.

Remember, what you say in those situations doesn’t even need to be that funny. Just the fact that you’re talking about it from a different perspective and engaging people, people are going to laugh with you through empathy and support.

Nerds are a great example of how we’ve brought humor in to create acceptance. At one point, there was no humor around nerds. They were just uncool. Over the years, we’ve developed a whole subset of jokes and humor and humorous perspective around nerds, which has created acceptance for nerds.

Now, we look at nerds and we not only see a nerd, we also see some of their really positive qualities come across through humor, so humor has broken that stereotype of a nerd is a bad thing.

Humor is a habit that you can develop. The more you use those muscles in your brain, the stronger they become. In order to develop those muscles, if you’re seeing a helping professional, a counselor, a psychiatrist or psychologist, it’s a good idea to ask that person what their take on humor is and how that might work in your life, so you can build up those humor muscles inside of you.

Presenter: Mr. David Granirer, Counselor, Vancouver, BC

Local registered Dietician

Local Practitioners: Counselor

David Granirer, counselor, discusses Humor and Mental Healing.

How Good is Humour in Daily Life?

A good definition of humour is acts involving surprise that create good feelings. And certainly that can involve telling a joke, or a funny story, but not everyone is good with that.

Acts involving surprise that create good feelings can involve giving someone an unexpected word of encouragement, a smile, people on the receiving end go “Wow, I wasn’t expecting that” and they feel good.

And, interestingly enough, there are studies that find that you actually change the physiology of people when you say something positive. One study found that when someone received a compliment, it stimulates the same pleasure and reward centres in their brain as when you give them money.

So by going out and being positive and supportive and encouraging of people, you actually change their physiology, and there’s a much better chance that you’re going to get some of that back.

So I would say as a bottom line for humour, going out and taking that extra time to smile at that person, to say something – even if it’s, you know, the cashier at Safeway or whatever it is, you’re going to get something back that is rewarding and good for you.

Presenter: Mr. David Granirer, Counselor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Counselor

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