Laughter takes the edge off stress

By on October 24, 2006

We often laugh because we’re happy, but what most people don’t realize is that laughing can also make you healthier.

Laughter releases endorphin, natural chemicals in the body that cause a “pain-killing” effect, at a particularly high level.

Studies show that laughter boosts the immune system, increases the amount of cells that attack viruses, make disease-destroying antibodies and, most notably, reduce the amount of stress hormones.

Norman Bond, a part-time psychology professor at Quinnipiac, agrees that laughing can have positive effects.

“It’s almost a perfect thing to do from a physical and psychological point of view,” Bond said. “When you laugh you’re not stressed, and since you’re not stressed you’re not experiencing the break down of stress. It helps the body. It’s therapeutic. People that laugh and are joyful live the longest.”

Endorphins are most famous for their effect on the body when an individual participates in physical exercise.

One student said that she often notices a difference when she exercises.

“I knew that endorphin were released when I worked out and that they were the reason why I often leave the gym in such a good mood. Working out, especially running for me is a natural high,” said sophomore Janine Elliot.

She did not know, however, that the same effects can be experiences while laughing

“I laugh and smile probably a thousand times a day,” said senior Wendy Wei. “Anyone that knows me knows that I always laugh.”

Bond says that all students should find something that gets their minds off tasks at hand.

“Stressed students need to do something that creates joy in their lives; get involved with some fun activity, associate with people who make them happy,” Bond said.

Many students that experience stress feel that they do not have time to relax or have fun when their schedules get hectic.

“Some people are so serious that they forget to schedule time to have fun,” Bond said. “People who are like that are really missing something. You always should schedule fun in your life, that’s my dictate. And I’m saying it from a personal point of view – it really is good medicine.”


About Melissa Moller