Why Laughter is the Best Medicine

Posted on July 27, 2017

We’ve all heard this phrase, and science has provided evidence, that laughter is indeed a great way to handle stress. Here are six findings that explain why laughter is the best medicine.

1) Laughing releases endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are hormones that make us feel good. Endorphins are released through opioid receptors. Hence, the more opiod receptors a person has, the stronger the effect. Extremely addictive opioids like heroin bind to these same receptors. This suggests that laughter creates the same euphoric feeling when taking opioids, without the negative effects.

2) Laughter is contagious, and encourages the formation of social bonds. A sense of togetherness and safety is felt when endorphins are released through groups. You have probably been in a situation when somebody starts laughing and everyone joins in, despite not knowing what the laughter is about. This is due to laughter triggering the endorphin effect in other brains.

3) It fosters brain connectivity. There are different kinds of laughter, for example joy and taunting laughter. A study has found that different types of laughter activates connections between different parts of the brain. This means that hearing laughter cultivates brain-region connectivity while our brains try to make sense of the type of information the laughter is conveying.

4) Laughter is extremely important to relationships. A study found that women laughed around 126% more than their male partners. Men were found to initiate the laughter the most. This ties in with relationship formation and maintenance. A sense of humour is usually rated by women as one of their top-three traits in a potential partner. Women who laugh often are also rated higher by men. The couples who report having better quality relationships are those who laugh together.

5) Laughing releases serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is released when affected by antidepressants. Hence, this suggests that laughing has a similar effect to taking antidepressants. While the duration of this effect is unclear from research, it lasts for at least a short time.

6) Laughing protects your heart health. Research has found that laughing has an anti-inflammatory effect. This protects the heart from the effects of cardiovascular disease.


Source material from Psychology Today

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