It’s not every day that nuns in Korea employ humor and laughter – particularly at their own expense – to illustrate a spiritual lesson. But Sister Agatha Lee Mi-suk, 45, did just that during a lecture on the power of laughter, for which she donned a butterfly-shaped hair band and punctuated her lecture with wild laughter and unrestrained dancing, reports Ucanews.
Sr Lee, of the Congregation of the Religious Missionaries of St Dominic, spoke to about 150 participants in an address that emphasized the need for laughter to relieve stress, which she said has become a chronic problem in the country.
According to a study by Statistics Korea released in December, 69.2 percent of South Koreans aged 13 or older experience stress in their daily lives, mostly from school or work.
In a bid to reverse this trend, Sr Lee began lecturing on laughter therapy in 2007. Since that time she has spread her message of the healing aspects of laughter to about 10,000 people each year.
“Laughter is a sort of exercise,” she said, adding that when you try to laugh continuously, “you can have the desired effect. And the effect will increase more when you laugh together with other people.”
According to psychiatrist Chung Won-yong, laughter “enhances your intake of oxygen and increases endorphins, so that your immune system is improved and your pain can be eased by causing the body to produce natural painkillers.”
Chung said that one in six South Koreans experience some form of mental illness, such as depression, anxiety or various compulsive disorders – a situation he attributes to an increasingly competitive employment sector and growing social polarisation.
Once upon a time, Sr Lee dreamed of being a comedian. She says now that her vocation as a Religious allows her to couple that dream with devoted service to helping people overcome tragic circumstances. - Stephen Hong
FULL STORY Sister Lee's laughter therapy (Ucanews)