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Laughter: A Brain Medicine?

Charlie Chaplin once shared that “a day without laughter is a day wasted.” Is this true? Is laughter really that good for your brain and well-being? 

One girl and one boy laughing


Laughter is contagious. When surrounded by laughter, it is often challenging not to laugh ourselves! We are more likely to laugh when we are around others, and recent studies have demonstrated that it is not solely jokes that make us laugh but, even more often, other people’s presence around us. Research has demonstrated that we’re 30 times more likely to laugh when we are surrounded by laughter. In fact, the average adult laughs 15-20 times daily.


Recent studies have supported the wide range of health benefits of laughter. Laughter can lead to many positive mental health outcomes, and studies have shown that those who laugh more may actually live longer. 

Additionally, laughter has been demonstrated to reduce levels of anxiety and depression and improve the quality of sleep in adults. Some studies have even investigated whether laughter can be used as a non-pharmacological alternative for depression and anxiety. A 2012 study found that laughter significantly boosts mood, reduces stress, and strengthens the immune system, making it an effective medicine for the body. 

Short term benefits 

Laughter stimulates many organs, leading to enhanced oxygen intake. It can also stimulate many of your muscles and increase endorphins from the brain. When these endorphins and neurotransmitters are released, they make us feel happy! The neurotransmitters can include serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. Additionally, laughter leads to decreased tension and may relax muscles after they are engaged. This can relax your stress response! Laughter helps us immediately relax and recharge. 

Long term benefits 

As mentioned, laughter affects our immune system and can strengthen it over time. Laughter also affects how our body responds to pain and can reduce pain levels over time. Laughter can lead to long-term mood boosts and affect how we navigate stressful situations over time. 

Laughter overall can greatly impact our cognitive function. Laughter helps us think more creatively, clearly, and productively :) 

Additionally, laughter helps our social health! Being social leads to decreased levels of dementia and better cognition. 

In Conclusion… 

Laughter really does make good medicine! Whether its engaging in funny conversations with friends, finding a funny movie, or going to a comedy show, finding ways to laugh can have tremendous benefits. 



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