A family court in Pune recently sent a couple in a strained marriage to a yoga trainer for “laughter sessions”, because the judge felt they had “lost their smile” over the years, The Times of India reported on Thursday. Laughing together, the judge said, creates “amazing connections” between people and could help them solve their problems peacefully.

Engaged in “acrimonious” divorce proceedings for four years, the couple “lost their smile and productivity towards future life”, Judge Swati Chauhan observed. Efforts at counselling them had not succeeded. The dispute had also exposed the couple and their child to “depression, frustration, stress and anxiety”, the judge said.

However, the “nuanced exercise” of laughter sessions could solve the problem – the judge said it could motivate them to “discard the hurt, pain and worry, and facilitate them to take an appropriate decision”.

“Laughing together may help in removing the feeling of strangeness,” the judge said, citing research on the role of laughter in relieving stress. “The ability to laugh or at least smile when times get tough is the best way to reduce stress. While a little stress actually helps motivate us into action and focus on the problem, laughter helps us focus on the solution.”