I've always known about the importance of laughter in healing. But Ronald Jenkins has some nice explanations and quotes in his book, Subversive Laughter, The Liberating Power of Comedy. Perhaps he explains his theory best in the introduction where he writes:
"Laughter is a biological imperative, a complex cognitive and physiological response to the human condition that is as necessary for survival as water, air, and freedom. While I have no evidence that comedy is encoded in our chromosomes, it is plausible that a genetic impulse for adaptation and survival might explain the persistence of laughter in life’s most urgent moments."
I also enjoyed the following quotes:
"In a world fraught with danger and despair, comedy is a survival tactic, and laughter is an act of faith."
"Our sense of humor is a mirror of our aspirations, reflecting our desires to escape the limitations that circumscribe our lives."
"The global persistence of laughter as an adaptive response to human hardship makes one suspect that at its most visceral level, comedy is linked to our species’ instinct to survive."
Whenever I'm sad about this illness and the impact it has had on my life, I go back to Jenkins' book. While I don't always feel like laughing, I always like reading about its importance.