Are you having a laugh? The importance of laughter and comedy to our mental and physical wellness – and figuring out where my own shame around laughing comes from

There are SO MANY ways that laughter can help us… it can help us to relax, enjoy ourselves, feel less pain, reduce our anxiety, and more! It really is laughter therapy!

I love the way in which comedy brings diverse communities together: there are certain things that everyone finds amusing. 

In this episode, I talk about my shame around laughter, how I handle having a husband who laughs out loud less than I do, and why my life was changed by a comedy club in Los Angeles!


0-1: Introduction

1-3: The strangest places you find humour (eg the Houses of Parliament!)

3-5: How I realised that comedy was a mood changer for me, and that it’s perfectly okay to laugh out loud in public!

5-7: It might be easy to fake a smile, but it’s virtually impossible (unless you’re a top Hollywood actor!) to fake convincing laughter.

7-10: How comedy is like exercise for the body.

10-12: The effect of comedy shows on the elderly.

12-23: Comedy helps with pain tolerance, emotional resilience, stress reduction and relaxation.

23-33: How comedy brings diverse groups together, letting people look at serious topics in a lighter way. 

33-35: Quote of the episode.

35-40: Finding our own ways of experiencing laughter.

40-49: Learning that it’s okay to laugh out loud when you’re in a group. Where my sense of shame around laughter comes from.

49-50: Conclusions.

Quote of the Episode

A serious and good philosophical work could be written entirely of jokes.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Research Links

T. Morishima et al, on laughter therapy for cancer patients

Y Yoshikawa et al, on laughter therapy for the elderly

J Zhao et al, on laughter therapy for depression and anxiety

A. Pérez-Aranda et al, on how laughter can overcome pain

A Tanaka et al, on how laughter-yoga benefits stress levels

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