Happiness (vs.) Laughter (vs.) Fun

by Bernard De Koven on June 25, 2010

The difference between fun and laughter? You can have fun without laughing. Some people can even laugh without having fun.

To my knowledge, there are vast collections of studies about the healing powers of laughter and humor (see Lee Berk’s research), or participate in the Laugh Lab study about what’s funny. But I still haven’t found anyone researching the physiological, psychological or sociological benefits of fun.

My guesses:
    •    fun is too hard to measure
    •    it’s too hard to get funding to study fun
    •    If you have to prove that fun is worthwhile, we’re all beyond help

Is fun more important than laughter? I think so. Because you can spend more time having fun than you can laughing. On the other hand, the kind of fun I most enjoy having is the fun that makes me laugh.

Is fun healing? More healing even than laughter? I really don’t know. I do know, however, that of all the things on my list of things worth having, fun is right below love and health. And healthy, loving fun is right there on the absolute top!

Then comes the question of happiness.

What I like about fun is that it is something I can choose to have. Happiness, on the other hand, seems to come or go with or without me. I mean, I like happiness. I pursue happiness. I really want to be happy, all the actual time. But, despite many well-attended meetings on my Inner Playground, I still haven’t learned how to make myself happy. Even though I know how to make myself have fun, sometimes, I’m just too unhappy to make the effort.

Maybe happiness is like tickling yourself and fun is like making love to yourself and laughter is what happens when it works.

And then there are the other times when, oddly enough, I seem to almost like being unappy. I seem to maybe even be having fun being unhappy.

Go figure.


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