Laughter Makes You Better

Have you ever surprised a little child? Maybe you’ve hidden under a blanket and popped out, saying, “boo.” After a second of fright, the toddler can’t help but burst out in a laugh. You do it too.

Kids are amazing. They can quickly forget everything around them and release a huge belly laugh. We grown ups, on the other hand, are sometimes afraid to laugh at what’s genuinely funny because of social norms or thoughts that others may judge us if their sense of humor is different. Society cautions us against laughing flippantly. 

But there’s more than a surface level of what’s going on when we laugh: laughter benefits us and those around us without doing harm to anyone. 

We take care of ourselves the best we can by exercising, eating  well and soaking up some vitamin D when relaxing in the sun, but what don’t we add a dose of funny to our day as well?

Doug Scheer, Scheer Genius, Assembly Shows, school assembly shows, Laugh Factory Magic Show, Magic Show, laugh
Doug Scheer, Scheer Genius, Assembly Shows, school assembly shows, Laugh Factory Magic Show, Magic Show

Laughter is simply a puff of air and vibrations of our vocal chords. We chuckle and smirk at jokes, slap our knees at funny videos, and even laugh and make jokes when we are faced with fear or the unknown. 

We don’t need to think to enjoy a good laugh. It happens automatically and is part of what makes us human. I’ve always imagined aliens visiting us and becoming confused when the see and hear laughter (or dancing to music for that matter). But laughter is not a cultural phenomenon, it happens across all races, genders and nationalities. It’s ingrained in our human nature. Even other-abled infants who are both deaf and blind laugh. So laughter has to be more than just a goofy noise we make when we expel bursts of noise and air, right?

Laughter is Medicine

Sure, you may have sore stomach muscles a few hours after a laughing fit, but laughter has no harmful side-effects.  It’s actually beneficial for everyone (and a few animals too). And, just a yawn, it’s highly contagious. Scientists have studied laughter and it’s affects:

  • Laughter releases serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that antidepressants treat. Laughter mimics a natural antidepressant, with lingering results.
  • Laughter releases endorphins. But laughing with others makes the opioid receptors in your brain produce and release endorphins. These are known as feel-good chemicals. Many addictive drugs bind to those same opioid receptors. This explains why laughter is euphoric. 
  • Laughter helps you relax. Think of laughter as a mini dose of exercise.  A good laughing bout causes your breathing and heart rate to increase. After that your muscles, heart rate and breathing rate reduce. The result is automatic relaxation.
  • Laughter is contagious. It’s those magical endorphins that make that happen. People who share a laugh feel more connected to each other (perhaps this is why a sense of humor is usually on the top of the “things I look for in a mate” list.) This brings us to… 
  • Laughter boosts relationships. Studies have shown that couples who laugh together often may have higher-quality and longer lasting relationships.
  • Laughter is attractive. In the cultures of western world women have been measured as the ones who laugh more than men, but it’s the men who usually instigate laughter.
  • Laughter makes you feel better. Hearing a hearty laugh can increase your mood. 
  • Laughter helps you sleep. Laughter therapy is a real thing. Elderly patients who participate in laughter therapy show improvements in quality of sleep and can fall asleep faster. 
  • Laughter is an anti-inflammatory. While scientists agree that a hearty laugh reduces inflammation, even though they don’t understand why. Lower inflammation can protect help ward off disease and it protects the heart muscle and blood vessels. In once study, participants who watched a funny TV show or movie had healthier arteries over the next 24 hours. 
  • No really, laughter is good for your heart. People who don’t laugh are, remarkably, twenty one percent (21%) more likely to have diseases related to the heart or sixty percent (60%) more likely to have a stroke than people who laugh regularly.

You can make yourself laugh

Of course you can’t tickle yourself into laughter (go ahead, try). But here’s something that my surprise you: fake laughter can turn into legitimate, real laughter. Try this: Take a few deep breaths. Next force our a laugh. Notice how silly you sound, but keep on laughing. Don’t stop. Next, all of a sudden you may find yourself genuinely laughing. This sounds a little nuts, right?  But there actually is a study that backs this up. Six people participated in what’s called laughter yoga classes. (I wonder if they’ll soon replace goat yoga with laughing hyena yoga?  –that’s a joke). The results showed genuine laughter, increased mood, a more friendly nature, a healthier heart, and a reduction in long-term anxiety. 

Looking for a good laugh? 

  • Sign up for a joke of the day delivered to your inbox.   
  • Read biographies of comedians or pick up a copy of “I Killed: True Stories of the Road from America’s Top Comics” 
  • Watch a funny movie. 
  • Search YouTube for funny video clips. 

Or, of course, you can attend a comedy club or hire a comedian or funny magic show for your next group gathering.

Doug Scheer, Scheer Genius, Assembly Shows, school assembly shows, Laugh Factory Magic Show, Magic Show

Doug Scheer’s Laugh Factory Magic Show is a family-friendly, 100% zany and goofy magic show that’s filled with dozens of silly stunts that kids and parents love. If you’re in charge of laugher in your children’s school consider bringing in this assembly show and have a great hour of laughter. It is the best medicine.