laughter & wellbeing

5 Ways Laughter Enhances Your Wellbeing

Even though it is a bit cliché at this point, you have heard the phrase - laughter is the best medicine. However, cliché or not, it still holds quite true. Psychologists have determined that humor is a coping mechanism for stress, and additional research into the science of humor and laughter has found that they are also good for your wellbeing. There are five ways that laughter that can make you happier and healthier.


No one can truly be happy 100% of the time. If you are unhappy more than you are happy, it could be time to seek some help. Part of your therapy could very well be to use laughter.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

More Oxygen

Your body uses oxygen to create energy to move. As your cells use oxygen, they create carbon dioxide. Your lungs need to exhale or push out the carbon dioxide so you can get more oxygen. The better your breathing, the more oxygen you breathe in or inhale to circulate throughout your body.

According to the American Lung Association, when you laugh, your lungs expand to push out more carbon dioxide and let more oxygen into them. Deeper breaths mean more oxygen for energy. In a study in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, researchers found that laughing reduced trapped carbon dioxide in the lungs of people with pulmonary disease. People with lung issues often have difficulty expelling carbon dioxide, making their breathing less effective.

More oxygen can help you feel more energetic and alert. More energy improves your ability to do things and benefits your wellbeing.

Reduce Pain

In a study at the University of Oxford, researchers found that humor and laughter reduce pain sensation. Your body produces endorphins, which are natural chemicals that are responsible for making you feel happy. Endorphins also decrease the pain response. In this study, 15 minutes of watching a humorous show increased the pain threshold by 10%.

Endorphins are produced during physical activity and exercise. A typical example is a "runner's high" or the euphoria an athlete gets while running. Scientists believe that laughter is an exercise for the abdominal muscles. When you laugh, you breathe deeper, using your muscles more. This creates endorphins that help you tolerate pain and improve your wellbeing.

Improved Immune System Function

Your immune system works to protect you against harmful germs. If you are exposed to germs, it produces white blood cells to fight against germs and illness. The immune system also creates antibodies, so if you are exposed to that germ again, your body is ready to fight it off.

In the 1970s, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine described how a patient with an autoimmune disorder, or dysfunctional immune system, used humor and laughter to treat his condition into remission. Further studies at the Loma Linda University's Schools of Allied Health have shown that laughter boosts the production of germ-fighting cells and antibodies. Researchers also found that laughter increased cells' ability to destroy cancer tumors.

Humor and laughter improve your immune system function and help your overall wellbeing.

Fights Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression are linked to stress. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety is the most common mental illness and affects over 40 million adults in the United States. Anxiety and depression are often diagnosed together, with over half the people with one condition also having the other. Anxiety and depression negatively affect a person's wellbeing and quality of life.

Many studies have shown that humor and laughter relieve stress and decrease the risk for anxiety and depression. In a Plos One study, researchers found that the more a person laughed, the less stress they reported feeling.

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Photo by Marcus Aurelius

Better Bonding

In a study at the University of North Carolina, researchers found that shared laughter signals people to believe they have the same viewpoint and boosts their sense of connection. According to the American Psychological Association, social isolation, and lack of meaningful bonds with others decrease a person's wellbeing by affecting their:

  • Sleep 
  • Cognitive Function 
  • Health 
Laughter help create and strengthen bonds, improving your wellbeing. It will improve your general outlook on life. People you associate with will also take notice and want to hang out with you more. It really is the best medicine.

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3 Comments

  • Eri

    I couldn’t agree more with everything you say here. I have noticed that during my most stressful periods in life I always search for a good comedy to watch because I know that laughing always makes me feel better.
    Thank you for stating so clear all the benefits of laughter for our wellbeing!

  • Unwanted Life

    It must depend on the kind of laughing you’re doing as to whether you’re getting more oxygen into your lungs or not. There have been a few times where something was so funny that I could breath while laughing and felt like I might die instead

  • Lauren

    Laughter is so important, it can make you feel good and improve your mental health as well as your wellbeing. Thank you for sharing.

    Lauren – bournemouthgirl

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