Laughter is a universal language that brings people together. Shared laughter breaks down barriers, builds trust, and creates connection. Laughter has the power to de-escalate conflict and bring about creative and flexible solutions to challenges. When we laugh, dopamine is released and opens up pathways in the brain that help us discover novel solutions. According to Ellen Weber and Jeane Segal, “humor and playful communication strengthen our relationships by triggering positive feelings and fostering emotional connection.
It's hard to laugh and be upset in the same moment. If we find something humorous, we find ourselves to be different. Jennifer has quite eloquently explained exactly how good laughing is for our bodies, minds, hearts and souls. Love it! Amy Fuller PhD
Adam Mastroianni is serious about humor. He graduated in June with a degree from Princeton's psychology department, where he wrote his senior thesis on the psychology of humor.
He started working on his topic while a sophomore when he found an adviser, Susan Fiske. Fiske, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology, has said, "My only challenge in advising him is keeping up with him."
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
Q: How does a pig get to the hospital? A: In a hambulance!
It's one of the many jokes I remember from my kids' younger days! Laughter is a key ingredient to our health and happiness. Belly-laughs provide "exercise for our insides"! Laughing is one of my favorite things to do and I often end therapy sessions with kids with a joke (when appropriate)!
Then I discovered cooperative games. As the name suggests cooperative games involve all the players working together to achieve an end goal, supporting each other, working as a team and hopefully bonding in the process. The games themselves have a built in ‘opposition’ which might be racing against the night or the weather, but the participants themselves must all work cohesively in order to be successful and ‘win’.
These games have been a huge blessing in our house, giving us hours of co-operative fun and underscoring the values I hope to instill in my boys; kindness, cooperation and teamwork. Rather than rejoicing in each other’s failures we can only be successful if we work as a team, just like in real life!
Dr. Amy Fuller's insight:
Cooperation is so much better for our brains than competition!
When I was about twelve years old my Aunt Fern took me aside and gave me a tip about life that I have never forgotten. Usually aunts don’t take you aside and tell you to do something you’re already doing. I must have been going around with a grumpy countenance to provoke such a specific counseling session.
“Smile,” she said, putting her arm around me. “Smile all the time, whenever you can
Dr. Amy Fuller's insight:
Bonuses of smiling: makes us more attractive, is contagious, relieves stress, boosts immune system, relieves pain, and improves self esteem.
A recent analysis of past studies highlights the health benefits of music, dance, and art therapy.
On the whole, people with cancer who were assigned to creative arts treatments reported less depression, anxiety, and pain and a better quality of life during the programs than those who were put on a wait list or continued receiving usual care. For example, in one 2010 study, listening to half an hour of familiar music cut reported pain levels at least in half for 42 percent of hospitalized patients, while just eight percent of those in a comparison group saw relief.
Here’s a selection of 60 tiny love stories recently submitted to our sister site, Makes Me Think, that not only made us think, but warmed our hearts and made us smile too. We hope they do the same for you.
Today, my 75-year-old grandpa who has been blind from cataracts for almost 15 years said to me, “Your grandma is just the most beautiful thing, isn’t she?” I paused for a second and said, “Yes she is. I bet you miss seeing that beauty on a daily basis.” “Sweety,” my grandpa said, “I still see her beauty every day. In fact, I see it more now than I used to when we were young.” MMT http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/11/20/60-tiny-love-stories-to-make-you-smile/
Like meditation, after play the world looks brighter, clearer and more delightful.
After all, it's no accident that after meditating for a few hours, we spontaneously start to play. Animal biologists tell us that if a young animal is under stress, it won't play. But as soon as it starts to feel safe... well, let the games begin! Most of us modern humans have gotten the saber-toothed tigers and woolly mastodons under control. We experience chronic stress not because our lives are in any real danger but because we believe our incessant, neurotic thoughts (and let's face it, it's a jungle in there). So the most direct path to safety is to turn down the volume of our minds and arrive with all our awareness in the present moment -- where it's safe.
The present moment is, in fact, the only doorway to the playground. You can't get there from not here. And when we do get here the playground doors burst wide open and unleash our spontaneous free play. In short, when we're present we become wise and everything becomes play.
"For as long as I can remember — and certainly long before I had the term for it — I’ve believed that creativity is combinatorial: Alive and awake to the world, we amass a collection of cross-disciplinary building blocks — knowledge, memories, bits of information, sparks of inspiration, and other existing ideas — that we then combine and recombine, mostly unconsciously, into something “new.”
"The concept, in fact, was perhaps best explained by Albert Einstein, who termed it “combinatory play.” (Einstein famously came up with some of his best scientific ideas during his violin breaks.) From his Ideas and Opinions (public library) — the same invaluable volume that gave us the beloved physicist’s timeless wisdom on kindness and our shared existence — comes Einstein’s single most succinct articulation of how his mind works, driven by this powerful combinatorial creativity.
Ever noticed how part of your inner self comes out when you write a story, poem or song? Have you ever seen your inside reflected in a drawing, painting, or structure you created? Well, that’s kinda how play therapy works. Instead of talking out their concerns, children use toys and playful activities to gain understanding, process problematic issues and learn coping strategies. Play therapy uses the natural communication of play in the therapeutic relationship to accept, respect and understand clients.
Half of adults played outside at least seven times a week when they were growing up - but less than a quarter of children are allowed as much freedom today. Yet two in five youngsters say they are desperate to spend more time outside.