Jokester Mental Training?

Jokester Mental Training?

“We were working on the boarders of Cambodia. As soon as the refugees came in, if the child would laugh, we knew they would live.”
~ Nun working with Cambodian refugees

Most people have heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Many have dismissed this statement from a well-meaning friend or grandparent deeming it an old wives tale. Well, there is research to support that laughter has physical and mental health benefits.

The beginning of the American laughter movement in medical and mental health research was supported by the work of Norman Cousins. Cousins proposed there are two parts to combating an illness. Part one, involves physicians applying the best treatment medical science has to offer, and the second involves the patient summoning all spiritual and physical resources they possess (Cousins, 1989). Part two is where laughter may be integrated to promote healing physical and mental health conditions and improve morale.

The life and work of Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams @realpatchadams builds on the experience and research of Norman Cousins. Patch is arguably the most well-known laughter champion in the medical community and was made famous by the 1998 film “Patch Adams” based on his life story.

Patch has been a pioneer in developing a holistic method of treating individuals while moving away from the notion of medical care as a business transaction. Patch founded the Gesundheit! Institute that focuses on providing expert medical care with compassion without financial gain. Patch developed an idea coined “humanitarian clowning” which incorporates clowning in the delivery of medical care. He has taken multiple groups of medical providers into foreign nations providing free medical care and infecting others with joy all over the World.

Patch Adams

Patch Adams

Benefits of Laughter (Berk, 2001) …

Psychological Benefits of Humor:

  • Reduces anxiety
  • Reduces tension
  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces depression
  • Reduces loneliness
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Restores hope and energy
  • Promotes empowerment and control

Physiological benefits of laughter:

  • Improves mental functioning
  • Exercises and relaxes muscles
  • Improves respiration
  • Stimulates circulation
  • Decreases stress hormones
  • Boost immune system defenses
  • Boost production of endorphins

Integrating Laughter into a Mental Training Program

The research above supports the notion that laughter simply is good for you. But how should one go about incorporating laughter into their daily life and mental training?

A few methods laughter may be incorporated into daily living is through the use of comedic films, YouTube funnies, learning and telling jokes, humorous images and quotes, visiting comedy shows, spending time with individuals who are humorous, and/or performing in comedic skits independently or in groups.

Everyone needs a good Laugh every day?

An additional resource working to champion practical applications of laughter is the American School of Laughter Yoga. This resource provides detailed guidelines to incorporate laughter yoga @thelaughteryoga into daily practice in groups or alone.

“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”
~ Elbert Hubbard

Check out Dr. Adams @ The Mayo Clinic 2010

Patch Adams, M.D. ~ “Transform”

Dr. Steve is available for consultation

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American School of Laughter Yoga. (2013). History of laughter therapy. Retrieved from:
Berk, R. (2001). The active ingredients in humor: Psycho physiological benefits and risks for older adults. Educational Gerontology, 27, 323-339.
Cousins, N. (1989 ). Proving the power of laughter.Psychology Today , 23(10), 22-25. Retrieved from