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Laughter

Laughter releases endorphins* and this reduces pain and stress and contributes to the creation, strengthening, and maintenance of social relationships. Surprisingly, stress reduction happens even when anticipating laughter**. Anticipation of laughter reduced cortisol (“the stress hormone”) by 39%, adrenaline by 70%, and dopamine catabolite (the brain chemical that produces adrenaline) by 38%.

Reduced stress levels make us feel safe and relaxed, and laughter makes us feel creative and focused.

JongEun Yim found that even a moment of laughter allows us to think more clearly and creatively and increases relatedness with our colleagues***. In the same research, he explains the additional benefits of the endorphins secreted by laughter: people feeling uncomfortable start to feel comfortable and people in a depressed mood become happier. As a consequence, laughter therapy was researched and started to be used as an alternative or adjuvant therapy to the pharmacological treatments of various illnesses like:

- cancer (Erdman, L. (1993). Laughter Therapy for Patients with Cancer, Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 11:4, 55-67, https://doi.org/10.1300/J077V11N04_04),

- diabetes (Kumar, V. R., et all. (2021). Laughter therapy in diabetes. JPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, 71(6), 1696–1697.),

- or cardiovascular diseases (Hayashi, K. et. all. (2016). Laughter is the Best Medicine? A Cross-Sectional Study of Cardiovascular Disease Among Older Japanese Adults. Journal of Epidemiology, 26(10), 546–552., https://doi.org/10.2188/jea.JE20150196).

For healthy people, laughter improves the immune system and general well-being.


* Manninen, S. et all (2017). Social Laughter Triggers Endogenous Opioid Release in Humans, Journal of Neuroscience 37 (25) 6125-613, https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0688-16.2017

** Berk, L. et all (2008). Cortisol and Catecholamine stress hormone decrease is associated with the behavior of perceptual anticipation of mirthful laughter. The FASEB Journal. 22, https://doi.org/10.1096/fasebj.22.1_supplement.946.11

** Yim, J. (2016). Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health: A Theoretical Review. The Tohoku journal of experimental medicine, 239(3), 243–249. https://doi.org/10.1620/tjem.239.243



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