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29.11.2017 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 2/2018

Journal of Religion and Health 2/2018

Humor as Wisdom for Reframing Life

Journal of Religion and Health > Ausgabe 2/2018
Sang Uk Lee


Human beings inevitably experience anxiety but attempt to avoid facing it through various forms of self-deception. This avoidance can lead to pathological symptoms. Young and middle-aged adults may be especially susceptible to suffering from anxiety because they are often single-mindedly pursuing means of achieving security. For these and others who fail to embrace life with warm enthusiasm, humor can serve to alleviate stress. This article views humor as a characteristic disposition of older adults—their humor signifying a sense of integrity and wisdom that often accompanies the aging process. Humor binds together feelings of despair and joy and contributes to a faithful reframing of faith and life. This article proposes that individuals acquire humor by perceiving the world as if on a journey to an exotic new place, seeing with new eyes even the most mundane of everyday objects and events. This capacity to perceive beauty in the ordinary world reflects a wisdom of older adults potentially available even to the young.

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