A lot of people really seriously subscribe to the notion that laughter is the best medicine. They value humor strongly because it makes them happy and to them, laughter is an integral part of happiness. In their eyes, when it comes to emotional problems, there are few better solutions. I agree that laughter is very important and can often play a unique role in the healing process, but not because I believe laughter alone is therapeutic (though it can be) or because humor makes people happy (though it does). I think that in the midst of all that, there is something even more intrinsic to the healing process that is often overlooked when it comes to this subject.
In many, many situations, laughter is a symbol of a mutual understanding, a relationship of sorts, between two or more people who have both found the same thing funny. When people laugh at a joke, it’s because they both get it. They’re on the same page, and whether they know it or not, they are bonding over something. I think that bond is what makes laughter so powerful, because we all crave relationships with other people. We want to know that someone else ‘gets it,’ even if ‘it’ is just the punchline to an amateur comedian’s corny joke, because if someone can ‘get’ that, maybe they can ‘get’ you too.
Laughter reminds us that we’re not alone. It breaks down those invisible walls that make us feel isolated, and brings people together. It helps us connect, and I think that human connection is the best medicine. Laughter is just a common side effect.