Uncontrollably laughing at funerals may be considered insensitive – psychologists say that there is a scientific reason to why some people can't stop themselves from laughing.
Giggling at funerals is not just something people reserve for their mortal enemies, but rather it is an often another way for grief to express itself in a sort of a coping strategy.
The Mirror spoke to Dr Abigael San, a Chartered Clinical Psychologist, to understand the psychological reason why some people have hysterical fits of laughter, and what they can do to stop it.
Dr San stated: “A funeral is a situation that many people find very difficult emotionally with everything that it represents.
"An expression of laughter can be what we call a manic defence, almost like a coping strategy but in a defensive way. Anything to divert the reality of what’s happening and the reality of loss and human vulnerability and the end of life."
A funeral is surely the last place that you'd want to get caught in a seemingly endless loop of hysterical laughter but it can happen and indeed does happen all too often during difficult sombre experiences.
It's enough to remind you of the 1975 episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show in which Mary attends the funeral of Chuckles the clown and subsequently bursts into hysterical laughter.
Mary attempts to stifle it with a fake coughing fit yet she simply cannot put a stop to the sniggering.
Although this is portrayed as a comical skit, the unwanted reaction rings true for many in real life situations. The question remains, just how can you prevent this if you get struck down with a bad case of the giggles at the graveside?
Dr San put some solutions forward. She said: "A suggestion would be to notice and acknowledge what is going on internally, to self monitor a bit about what’s happening within you physiologically.
“Breathe through it and maybe wiggle your toes and concentrate on the feeling of your feet for a moment. Focus on something that’s actually happening at the present moment instead of acting on the feeling but let the feeling be there and wash over you.
"That doesn’t mean that you’re avoiding what you’re thinking or feeling but it’s almost like having your attention on more than one thing at the same time and that can make it a bit easier to manage."
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By all accounts, it appears to be a natural reaction that is something we shouldn't worry about. Dr San continued with some words of wisdom, saying: “It’s nothing to be worried about, it’s quite typical to not want to be engaging in feelings that are uncomfortable.
“There’s nothing wrong with that but I guess the behavioural expression of that can sometimes be a bit confusing although it’s just one of our many defence mechanisms."
For funeral notices in your area visit funeral-notices.co.uk
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