There is nothing funny about death, but laughter can assist with healing in times of grief. Sharing a laugh can bring people together in their mourning and help to provide some relief from feelings of sadness.
Laughter is good for the soul. In fact, there is scientific evidence to prove that laughter has healing powers. Our brain releases positive chemicals when we share a laugh and this gives us a physical and emotion boost.
What are the benefits of laughter?
Think about the last time you really enjoyed a good laugh. It is likely you felt calm, relaxed and happy afterwards. That’s because laughter is like exercise. It can relax your muscles and lower your stress levels.
- Happy hormones
Laughter can also trigger the body to create the feel-good hormones we need for emotional stability and calm, particularly during times of grief.
- Healing sadness
When you share a laugh with loved ones, everyone benefits from the shared experience of strengthening bonds and renewing connections. Using laughter in grief is a powerful way of healing sadness and reconnecting with positivity.
How can I introduce laughter into my grief journey?
Sometimes people feel guilty about laughing when they are grieving. Try to remember that your loved one would only want you to be happy. Laughter is a healthy sign that you are healing, learning to laugh again is an important part of the grief journey.
If you feel like you have forgotten how to laugh, you can begin by introducing small moments of humour into your daily life.
Smiling is a great place to start. You might have to fake it until you make it, but starting with a smile will fire up your anti-stress hormones and improve your mood.
Gradually re-engaging in social occasions with your friends and family, even if you don’t feel like it, can help you to feel less alone and sad.
- Watch a funny movie
Ask your friends to recommend some funny movies and television programmes. Watching something amusing is a great way to get yourself laughing again.
- Laugh at YouTube clips
Search for bloopers and amusing clips on YouTube. You can use your phone or iPad to enjoy this easy way to give yourself a giggle.
- Read a humorous book
Relax into laughter with a book written by one of your favourite comedians. Your local library might even have collections of funny short stories, or joke books, to keep you amused.
Is it ok to include laughter in a funeral service?
- Be respectful
Funerals can be sombre occasions, but there is no reason why a little sprinkling of laughter can’t be included in the service. If humour is introduced with respect and care, most people enjoy the heart-warming relief of gentle laughter at a funeral service.
- Be true to character
If your loved one enjoyed funny stories, and having a laugh, you might like to include an amusing anecdote in the eulogy. Using humour in a eulogy can help the bereaved focus on happy memories and good times. Include only those anecdotes that show the deceased in a positive light, and that are in keeping with their true character.
- Be careful in your choices
Choosing to include a light-hearted reading, or funny poems and quotes, can lighten the mood of a funeral service. It is very important to remember to choose items that were meaningful to your loved one, don’t include things simply to get a laugh. You could use lines from their favourite books, films or television shows to demonstrate their sense of humour and love of life.
Laughter is an important part of healing grief. Try not to feel guilty about laughing during the grieving process. Introduce laughter gradually and don’t be afraid to include respectful humour in the funeral service of your loved one.
At Logan, we are very aware that the experience of grief is different for everyone. Our website features many free, downloadable brochures relating to grief care. For further information read our blog on grief and loss.