In thinking about the content of a mental health website, we wanted to create something that would have something for everyone, and speak to all parts of mental health, not just the hard parts.
Despite this agreed upon plan, my very smart, cerebral president needed a little convincing to include Laughter Therapy as a page. “There’s no such thing,” said he. “Yes there is,” said I. Back and forth we went until my internet research turned up some scholarly articles providing the necessary arguments. (Bless you, Google!)
Technically, El Jefe is right, there is no such thing in formal mental health treatment – you certainly won’t find it in a textbook. But the idea of going without laughter and joy and fun and still being able to feel good seems impossible to me. If you are dealing with depression or anxiety or any of the other painful, frightening emotions we humans can experience, laughter and opportunity for lightness of heart seem a necessary piece of coping, and hopefully, recovering.
If, at this moment, you are hurting and struggling and looking for some help, this laughter therapy business may seem frivolous and invalidating. If you are carrying the kind of pain that eclipses all other emotions, the idea of feeling anything else may seem impossible, and maybe even obscene somehow. That is exactly why you must find ways to lighten your emotional overload. You clicked on that Fun button for a reason – you need some and you know it. Life does manage to go on whether we are active participants or not. Our goal is to help you really, truly live in the healthiest manner possible. Sometimes that means advocacy and education. Sometimes that means direct services. And sometimes, that means sitting down and having a good laugh.
So after I spent several days researching and lobbying hard, El Jefe looked at me and said, “OK, you’re right, do it.” Huh? Me? How am I going to find funny, yet universally inoffensive content? We can’t, after all, risk hurting or offending anyone. That’s when you find out despite crude reality television, toxic talk radio, and the seemingly endless supply of evidence that suggests we humans are a vulgar lot, as it turns out, that is not all we are. Research (my research – bless you YouTube!) has proven there are people finding ways to create laughter and joy and fun with great humor and outside-the-box originality. What you will find on this page is not necessarily laugh-out-loud funny; some of it is just fun or witty or lighthearted. In doing this research, I have found that exposure to these creative souls is good (dare I say it?) medicine. It’s non-toxic and side-effect-free, so by all means, have some.
Alright my young Padawans, this is the best, most goofy Star Wars tribute I could find. They're called Moosebutter and they seem to specialize in silly. For that reason alone, I love them. Don't forget to turn your speakers up.
You've probably seen it, but the Evolution of Dance is always worth watching again.
Project Trio performing a version of the Nutcracker like no other - Classical meets Hip Hop meets Hoedown. I was going to save it for the holidays, but I couldn't wait, the bassist is too much fun to watch and the flutist is beatboxing!
Bill Cosby... always a classic.
More content will be coming, so keep checking back. And thanks for hanging out with me; if you’d like to comment, I’d love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
Peace, love and laughter,
Finally, more content!
I'd put this guy on the home page if I could! His name is David Grenirer and he's a counselor in Canada who started a program called Stand Up for Mental Health. The program teaches people with mental illness to write and perform their own stand up comedy. David's quote on their website is, “Most people think you have to be nuts to do stand-up comedy.We offer it as a form of therapy!”We love how David thinks.You can find him and all the comedians he has trained at www.standupformentalhealth.com.
I thought after 21 million hits I should include this one. If anything is going to be infectious, it should be laughter, and this guy's got it!
Improv Everywhere is a group of "agents" who perform impromptu performance events in various places in New York City. Talk about no-money-fun! This one happened in Grand Central Station.