Laughter As Stress Protection

Laughter As Stress Protection

An intensive longitudinal study from the University of Basel research team examined how laughter, its intensity, and symptoms of stress are connected.

Key points:

  • In a new study, participants’ laughter, its intensity and stressful events were tracked via a phone app.
  • Researchers found no correlation between laughter intensity and stress-related symptoms.
  • Also, laughter can soothe muscle tension, boost immunity, ease pain, and promote a better mood.

Statistic claims an average person laughs 18 times a day — mainly while interacting with other people. It’s also a fact that those who laugh frequently tend to have lower stress levels. Recent research looked at why is it so.

The study

Participants installed a mobile app that’s been developed just for the study. They were asked to answer questions the app was sending them eight times a day at irregular intervals, for 14 days straight. The questions related to any stressful events or stress symptoms participants experienced, as well as the frequency and intensity of laughter, and the reason for laughing.

The first thing analysis showed wasn’t mind-boggling to researchers: at time periods when participants laughed more they experienced less stress-related symptoms. But the other study discovery was unexpected. There was no correlation found between the laughter intensity (weak, medium, or strong) and stress symptoms participants reported.

“This could be because people are better at estimating the frequency of their laughter, rather than its intensity, over the last few hours,” suggested the authors.

Other short-term and long-term effects of laughter:

  • It soothes muscle tension. 
  • It boosts immunity by certain chemical reactions that happen when you laugh.
  • Laughter can ease the pain because it makes your body produce its own natural painkillers.

And above all that, laughing improves your mood by increasing the endorphins that are released by the brain.


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