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Physical Benefits of Laughter
- help diabetes, heart disease, and asthma
- boost the immune system and help fight infection
- burn calories
- relieve stress
- improve breathing
- relax muscles
- increase pain tolerance
Psycho-physiological responses may include:
- triggering changes in muscles, in the immune system, and hormone production
- leading to more positive emotions, which improves quality of life
- paving the way for better strategies for coping with stress
- increasing social skills, leading to health-enhancing benefits
Social Benefits of Laughter
- binds people together. It synchronizes the brains of speaker and listener so that they are emotionally attuned.
- builds rapport.
- establishes--or restores--a positive emotional climate and a sense of connection between two people.
- defuses anger, anxiety, and conflict.
- enhances teamwork.
- attracts others to us.
- allows a positive way to deal with stressful things.
- enables you to have fun at work.
If you do not have access to the full text of these articles, try searching for them in your library databases. They should be available there.
Theories of Humor
There are many theories of humor which attempt to explain what humor is, what social functions it serves, and what would be considered humorous.
Is Laughter the Best Medicine? Humor, Laughter, and Physical Health
This article from Current Directions in Psychological Science examines research evidence for the popular idea that humor and laughter have beneficial effects on physical health. Overall, the evidence for health benefits of humor and laughter is less conclusive than commonly believed.
Laughter: A Serious Business
A short article about the benefits of laughter.
Laughter: The Best Medicine
An article from WebMD about why, for some, laughter is the best medicine.
“A Merry Heart Doeth Good Like a Medicine”: Humour, Religion and Wellbeing
This essay from Mental Health, Religion & Culture explores the relationship between humour, religion, and wellbeing. It surveys some historical and contemporary psychological approaches to humour, and examines the empirical findings on the relationship between humour and health. Finally, it argues that aspects of both humour and religion are associated with transcendence, and that this maybe a helpful a conceptual bridge linking the two.
Mirth and Medicine: Hope or Hype?
from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Proponents of laughter-based therapies cite research demonstrating the medical value of mirth, although more sober-minded investigators warn that such claims may be exaggerated. Still, these programs confer benefits that, though less tangible, may be just as real.
Patients' Perception of Laughter in a Rehabilitation Hospital
This article from Rehabilitation Nursing describes a study of patients in a rehabilitation hospital regarding their perception of laughter and its effect on their mood, their opinion of nurses who laugh with patients, and the appropriateness of laughter in this setting. The results of this survey support laughter as a therapeutic intervention that nurses can use in helping patients and families through the process of rehabilitation.
Stress relief from laughter? Yes, no joke!
An article from the Mayo Clinic about stress relief through laughter