Archives for Laughter Therapy

Authentic happiness

Increase Your Happiness: Upregulate Positive Feelings

There has been considerable focus on the attempt to down-regulate (reduce) negative emotions as a way to relieve stress, depression, and the intrusive thinking that follows traumatic events. As such, the focus on positive emotions has largely been used to offset and reduce negative feelings and thoughts.
A Reason to Upregulate Positive Feelings

Recent evidence directs us to consider that the upregulation of positive feelings may serve as a uniquely important factor in expanding our happiness on a daily basis. Researchers have found that upregulation strategies can enhance the impact of positive events on our momentary happy mood and have been associated with higher levels of happiness, life satisfaction and positive emotions.

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Benefits of Laughter

Look Who’s Laughing: Similarities and Differences in Men and Women

Laughing is a wonderful human trait that we all share. It is something we do from earliest childhood and something that benefits us in many ways.

Physically, laughter relaxes skeletal and cardiovascular muscles. The rapid breathing associated with laughter increases oxygen level and improves respiratory function.
Psychologically, laughter has been associated with reduction of stress and anxiety as well as improvement in mood, self-esteem and coping skills.
Cognitively, neuroscientist, Scott Weems tells us that humor is like exercise for the brain. It necessitates insight and flexibility because it involves following the thread of the story and then enjoying the surprise, the pun or the unexpected. It is delightful when you realize from a child’s giggle that they “ get the joke” and heartwarming when the elderly are still “getting it” and laughing.
Socially we know that laughter invites connection and is contagious. If you enter a room where everyone is laughing, before long there is a good chance you will be laughing even without knowing why. Some feel that the purpose of laughter is to strengthen human bonds.

Whereas men and women both enjoy humor and benefit from laughing, there are some interesting gender differences.
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Authentic happiness

Forget About Time – Manage Your Energy!

No matter how hard we try, we really don’t manage time. We manage to live within its’ parameters. We can’t make the months of our spouse’s deployment less than they are. We can’t change the fact that we will be 50 years old on our next birthday or that we face an 8-hour workday, an hour commute, and two children who need to be at practice at a certain time.

We can’t manage...
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affirmation of partner

What Presidential Campaigns Can Teach You About Your Relationship

If you are human, in a relationship and living on this planet there will be decisions to make and problems to solve. They may be intrinsic to your circumstances, imposed upon you by outside factors, or a function of your personal needs and goals.

For most couples issues related to jobs, residence, children, socializing, religion, sex, money, in-laws and more demand decisions but often invite dissent.

If you want a clear example of...
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Enhancing Your Sexuality: Six Important Strategies

Anna Freud invited us to consider that “Sex is something you do, sexuality is something you are.”

Building on this, we can define sexuality as the way we experience and express ourselves as sexual beings. What makes sexuality a complex dimension is that it is determined by many factors including our body, gender, age, culture, history, media, religion and family.

What makes our experience of our sexuality important is that it affects our overall sense of self, our relationship with others and the life we live.

The most important factor enhancing our sexuality – one that is often overlooked but can out-trump age, culture, prior history, and body type is ATTITUDE.

The man or woman with an accepting sense of self is most often the most attractive person in the room….
He/she is not necessarily the person with the classic looks, the newest car or the best paying job; but rather, the person smiling, making eye contact, enthused with others and enthused with life.
The positive way we think and how we feel about ourselves plays a major role in our sexuality and in the pleasure we have in expressing it.

Developing a positive attitude will enhance sexuality. Here are some strategies.
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Can People Really Be Happy? Maybe

On May 8th, 2012, award-winning author and illustrator of the children’s book, Where The Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak, died. He was 83. In a postscript written about him in The New Yorker this week, Mariana Cook revisited some of what he had offered in a 2009 interview. In that interview, Sendak shared his feeling that it is hard to be happy and that some people find it easier than others. He ended with the question,

“Do you believe it when people say they are happy?”

In one of the final interviews Maurice Sendak allowed with Terri Gross on NPR in late 2011, he said something different, “I have nothing now but praise for my life. I'm not unhappy. I cry a lot because I miss people.”

In his words, this very creative man underscores the challenge, complexity and possibility of happiness.

Resonating with this, I recently wrote a blog for the
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Is Your Pet The Emotional “Third” in Your Relationship?

Katie and Rob, a couple in a second marriage for both, never planned to have a pet. They cautiously agreed to take Penny, a little terrier, when a relative became sick. Of course, they fell in love with her. When I asked them how Penny had impacted their relationship, their answer surprised me.

“Penny is our peacemaker. Before Penny we would stonewall each other and not speak for days after an argument.  It is funny what happens now - after an argument one of us will start talking about Penny to the other to break the ice. We never planned it – we just do it and it works.

The concept of the “Third” comes from relational psychology, specifically the work of psychologist, Lewis Aron who drew upon Jessica Benjamin’s work and applied the concept to couples. Aron offered the conceptualization of the see-saw. He considered that often two partners are stuck at opposite ends, moving up and down in terms of their own perspective, needs or opinions, but actually going nowhere and locked into a pattern that can't bring them together.

In terms of couple's therapy, Aron identified the therapist as the “third” to open the space. A closer look at partners and their pets invites us to consider that in an unexpected and uncanny way - pets also serve in that role.
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Pets in the Office: Unexpected Resources

Who let the dogs in? Many people from members of Congress to advertising executives have welcomed dogs into the workplace and for good reason.

Historically we know of the value of dogs in firehouses, on police canine teams, on farms, ranches, and certainly as companion dogs to those with physical disabilities.

Recently the diversity of workplaces that benefit from pets have expanded and while cats, and some birds have an important place next to the many professionals and business owners working from home, dogs seem to have found their way into the office.
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Keep Laughing — It’s Powerful Stuff

As humans we are one of a few species that laughs and we laugh from the time we are babies. Our laughter spans age, gender, language and culture. As humans we make each other laugh and we emotionally respond to laughter in others. It goes without saying that our laughing is contagious.  People are 30 times more likely to laugh in social situations than alone.

We have not only been laughing since biblical times – we have been reporting benefits to mind and body:

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Proverbs 17:22

“You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” Michael Pritchard

"Laughter is a necessity in life that does not cost much, and the Old Ones say that one of the greatest healing powers in our life is the ability to laugh.” Larry P. Aitken, Native American Chippewa Tribe

We now have scientific evidence that what we suspected is true – laughter is physically, psychologically, and interpersonally powerful stuff.

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