Disorders and Treatment
- Mental Illness
- Bipolar Disorder
- Mood Disorders
- Borderline Personality
- Mental Health Diagnosis
- Mental Health Treatments
- Alternative Meds
- Case Studies
We all need to take laughter seriously because it is good for our mental and physical health.
Yet, even when life seems the least funny, we still have a working funny bone. Anything we can do to stimulate it will reduce stress and boost our mood, though we may not notice the effect right away.
Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that people who have heart disease were 40 percent less likely to find humor in various typical life situations compared to those without heart disease.
“When you change your perception, you change your biology,” says Dr. Lee Berk, who has been researching the effects of laughter for more than 20 years. Berk points out that humans are programmed to laugh, and maintaining the capacity to laugh is necessary for a healthy life perspective.
Benefits of laughing:
Dr. Berk’s research includes studying the effects of anticipating laughter. He found that knowing we will be experiencing “mirthful laughter” by watching a favorite humorous movie has significant positive effects on our physiology.
When compared to a control group, the anticipation of experiencing humor increased the study subjects’ endorphin levels 27 percent, and raised their human growth hormone by 87 percent. These elevated levels were maintained from before the movie started, though the viewing of the movie, and lasted 12 to 24 hours in some individuals.
So, not only is laughing good medicine for depression, but planning to laugh is medicinal as well. Those of us with depression and anxiety can use the anticipation of laughter as a tool to raise our endorphins and keep our mood out of the dismal doldrums. We might not feel the anticipation, or end up roaring with laughter, but anything that tickles our funny bone improves our biology.
The information provided on the PsyWeb.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of PsyWeb.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.