Will Smith’s Facebook viral post “laugh like no-one is listening” is hilarious. Also a huge advocate of how to manage stress during coronavirus, Smith is definitely onto something.
How can Laughter Reduce Stress?
Laughter can be a great stress release. It reduces the level of stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) and dopamine. It also increases the level of endorphins (health-enhancing hormones).
By activating the neural pathways of emotions like joy and mirth, laughter can improve your mood and make your physical and emotional response to stress less intense (The Conversation).
Pretty good right?
But wait, there’s more 🙂
Laughter for Physical Health
Laughing is also literally the ‘best medicine’. An article in Business Insider Australia outlines that laughter indirectly supports a stressed-out immune system: “ according to a small 2020 study, laughing may increase the number of natural killer cells in your body, which are white blood cells that play an important role in defending against viruses and bacteria” (Business Insider Australia).
Laughter has a broad range of physical benefits including:
- Stimulating your organs and relaxing muscles – laughing results in taking in more oxygen-rich air, which stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles. A good laugh can relax your body for over 45 minutes !
- Weight loss – while also reducing stress (which often leads to weight gain), laughing also burns calories
- Lowering blood pressure – when laughter reduces endorphins, your blood pressure also reduces 🙂
(University of St. Augustine)
How Laughter Brings Us Together
Put simply, shared laughter brings us closer. According to a study at the University of Berkley: “For people who are laughing together, shared laughter signals that they see the world in the same way, and it momentarily boosts their sense of connection,” says social psychologist Sara Algoe, co-author of the study with Laura Kurtz. “Perceived similarity ends up being an important part of the story of relationships.”
So while the last (as the kids say) ‘locky D’ wasn’t very ‘lol’ :), taking opportunities in these strange times to have a bit of a laugh by yourself and with loved ones is a little thing you can always do in the moment to boost your wellbeing.
The Stable Team.