Why do people laugh at funerals, and what can be done about it?
A PSYCHOLOGIST explains why people laugh at funerals and how it is a perfectly acceptable behavior.
Laughing during a funeral is frowned upon and might appear improper and insensitive considering the sensitive nature of the occasion. It is, however, a more common reaction than you might imagine, and clinical psychologist Dr. Abigael San explains why some people simply can’t help themselves.
“A funeral is a moment that many people find emotionally challenging because of everything that it represents,” Dr. San added.
“A manic defence is an expression of laughter that functions almost like a coping mechanism but in a defensive manner.
“There’s nothing wrong with that, but the behavioral manifestation of it can be a little perplexing at times, despite the fact that it’s just one of our numerous defense mechanisms.”
Although laughter is a natural reaction at a funeral, it is the last place you want to be seen laughing while the rest of the crowd wipes their tears away.
Dr. San has made some recommendations about how to avoid it. “A recommendation would be to recognize and acknowledge what is going on internally, to self-monitor a little bit about what is going on physiologically within you,” she said.
“Breathe through it, wiggle your toes, and focus on the sensations in your feet for a few moments.
“That doesn’t mean you’re avoiding what you’re thinking or feeling, but it’s almost like you’re focusing on multiple things at once, which makes it a little easier to manage.”