Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 551–560 | Cite as

Humor as Wisdom for Reframing Life

  • Sang Uk Lee
Original Paper


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.


Humor Donald Capps Reframing Life as journey 



I would like to thank Moonji Publishing Co. for kind permission to use HyungJong Jeong’s poem, One Little Potted Chrysanthemum.


This article was funded by the Research Fund of the Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary, Seoul, South Korea, 2017.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pastoral Counseling and Pastoral TheologyPresbyterian University and Theological SeminarySeoulSouth Korea

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