Stress relief from laughter? It's no joke
When it comes to relieving stress, more giggles and guffaws are just what the doctor ordered. Here's why.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Whether you're guffawing at a sitcom on TV or quietly giggling at a newspaper cartoon, laughing does you good. Laughter is a great form of stress relief, and that's no joke.
Stress relief from laughter
A good sense of humor can't cure all ailments, but data is mounting about the positive things laughter can do.
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
April 21, 2016
- Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
- Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
- Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
See more In-depth
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- Woodbury-Farina MA, et al. Humor. Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 2014;37:561.
- Wilkins J, et al. Humor theories and the physiological benefits of laughter. Holistic Nursing Practice. 2009;23:349.
- Lebowitz KR, et al. Effects of humor and laughter on psychological functioning, quality of life, health status, and pulmonary functioning among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A preliminary investigation. Heart & Lung. 2011;40:310.
- Kim SH, et al. Laughter and stress relief in cancer patients: A pilot study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015;2015:864739.
- Chang C, et al. Psychological, immunological and physiological effects of a Laughing Qigong Program (LQP) on adolescents. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2013;21:660.
- Seaward BL. Comic relief: The healing power of humor. In: Essentials of Managing Stress. 3rd ed. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones & Bartlett Publishers; 2014.