Why Laughter is Good For You

What do you call a pig that does karate? A pork chop!

Hopefully you let out a chuckle with that pun and at least a smile with that adorable GIF. If you did laugh, you just released endorphins, reduced stress, and so much more. Laughter is said to be the best medicine and is clinically proven to make you healthier. Here’s how:

1.     Social ease:

While laughter is said to have many physical benefits, the greatest benefit is mental. Laughter brings people together. According to psychologytoday.com, “Laughter establishes—or restores—a positive emotional climate and a sense of connection between two people, who literally take pleasure in the company of each other.”1 Simply laughing with a classmate bonds you together.

2.     Stress reduction:

Doctor and professor Lee Berk studied students’ stress levels while watching a humorous video. “The students’ stress levels, measured by T-cell activity in the blood (which increase to jump-start the body’s immune system), were significantly lower after watching a humorous video.”2

3.     Immunity to illness:

A researcher in mind/body medicine, Candace Pert says, “It is through the emotions you experience in connection with your thoughts and daily attitudes—actually, through the neurochemical changes that accompany these emotions—that your mind acquires the power to influence whether you get sick or remain well.”3 Better mentality calls for better physical health.

4.     Improved mood:

Feelings of happiness occur when endorphins are released into the brain. According to psychalive.org, “Endorphins, however, are usually only triggered by physical activity, not social situations or conversation. The muscular exertions involved in laughing are actually what trigger the brain to release endorphins suggesting that it’s not the intellectual pleasure of cerebral humor that releases endorphins, but the actual physical act of laughing.”4 (Hugging also releases endorphins.)

5.     Increased pain threshold:

A group was studied by Dr. Dunbar and her colleagues to test the way laughter correlates with pain tolerance. After a group of people watched a comedy video, they recorded an increase in the pain threshold than the group who didn’t watch a comedy.2 Next time you twist your ankle in heels, try to laugh it off! 

Remember, people like to hang around someone who is lively and fun. Take initiative and be the one to brighten the mood! People are more likely to laugh when they’re with another person as opposed to when they’re alone—crack a joke and watch the color come to their cheeks. Think of all the amazing benefits you get from just a chuckle!

 

Sources:

1: https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200304/the-benefits-laughter

2: https://www.psychalive.org/laugh-it-up-why-laughing-brings-us-closer-together/

3: http://www.laughterremedy.com/articles/emotion_and_health.html

4:http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2011/09/12/rspb.2011.1373