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Benefits of Laughter for Stress

Updated on March 3, 2017
sholland10 profile image

Susan believes there is nothing more irritating than "interruptions" in sweet life. Using fact and humor, she loves sharing advice.


Sad? Angry? Depressed? In a toxic relationship? In a dead-end relationship? Stressed out? Feeling ill? Feeling anxiety? Recovering from surgery? Dealing with too many details? Tired or worn out?

At one time or another we have experienced a myriad of these emotions and feelings, sometimes several at once. During these emotional ups and downs, we often neglect the notion that there might be a temporary cure for these physically and mentally debilitating feelings: Laughter.

Laughter creates euphoric feelings producing a temporary relief from stress. Stress can tear down the body's defenses. Even some relief from stress hormones can have a tremendous positive impact. At times, it may not be appropriate to laugh, but we might not be able to help it. Our bodies crave the positive effects of the chemical and physical reactions of laughter when we are going through a difficult time. Laughter therapy can heal the mind and body.


When I need help laughing, I love watching the laughing chimp.

The Benefits of Laughter are Chemical

Laughter releases endorphins that help us get through negative feelings. Endorphins act as a natural opiate in the body. When endorphins are released, they fight stress hormones, can relieve pain, can release euphoric feelings, and can release sex hormones. People who do not have a sense of humor may be putting their health at risk. Being serious all the time or feeling negative all the time wears on the body and mind. The endorphins needed to feel content may be missing.

Studies show that the endorphins that are released into the body from laughter can make one feel temporarily better are also effective for:

  • fighting depression and anxiety
  • lowering blood pressure
  • helping the healing process during illness and/or after surgery
  • helping patients with heart problems, cancer, and the common cold.

The endorphins aid the immune system while you are healing. How many have heard of a person with a wonderful sense of humor and attitude recovering from an illness completely? Maybe there is something to “it’s all in the attitude.” A bad attitude is harmful to the body, and a good laugh can help alleviate the negative effects of the bad attitude. The boost to the immune system is worth the giggle, the guffaw, the snorting, the tears rolling down your cheeks from laughing too hard, but it is up to each person how to deal with what ails them. To laugh or not to laugh is the question.

The Benefits from Laughter are Physical

Laughter is exercising? What? Exercising? Yes, while laughing, the facial muscles, stomach, lungs, and heart are getting a workout. Laughing so hard that it hurts is like exercising the muscles and organs and is taking in much needed oxygen. The oxygen goes throughout the whole body giving the that added boost needed to feel more energized. The heart is beating faster pushing the oxygen through the veins and to every part of the body. The endorphins are the neurotransmitters that are running through the brain to the body helping with physical and mental well-being.

Maybe you would prefer a laughing cat. These little toys do get the giggles started.

Adding Laughter When You Don’t Feel Like Laughing

Sometimes laughter must be forced for its natural health benefits. We do not feel like laughing when we are sick, broken-hearted, experiencing a panic attack, or wallowing in our sorrows.

Below are some ideas to add laughter at a time when it doesn't feel natural. Get ready to "get your laugh on."


Practice Laughing

Okay, this is going to sound really crazy. Practice laughing is basically fake laughter at first. Once you get started, you are forcing the happy chemicals to start brewing. You may want to do this alone. I did this to experiment with laughter. It was a very stressful week, so I just started laughing. My dogs looked at me like, “What the…??” If the neighbors heard me, I am quite sure they had decided I had gone mad. The more I watched the dogs and thought about the neighbors' possible reactions, I did start to genuinely laugh. The stress melted away for most of the evening. Little things would set me off to more forms of laughter. Having the giggles was much more pleasant than allowing the stress hormones to run wild, making me have mini-anxiety attacks.

Laughter quote = words of wisdom
Laughter quote = words of wisdom | Source

Be with Funny People

In your low times, you need your friends. Not just any friends, but the ones who love you enough to make you laugh when you have hit rock bottom. Don’t go with the friends who will enable you by jumping on the bandwagon and wallow in your misery. This is counterproductive for your mental and physical well-being. This is not to say the problems causing the stress should be ignored. Talk about them, but do so with someone who is bound to find humor in the situation with a joke or a humorous distraction. Humor therapy is best shared with a friend. It is guaranteed you will feel better before the day’s end.

Lucy accidentally lights her nose on fire... Funny stuff!
Lucy accidentally lights her nose on fire... Funny stuff! | Source

So You Are Alone

Turn on the television to your favorite sitcom marathon. Some recommendations would be I Love Lucy, M*A*S*H, Andy Griffeth, Friends, Seinfeld, and/or Big Bang Theory. You may have other favorites and may even want to buy a collection or two just for these cases of desperation.

If you can’t find a television comedy to enjoy, get some favorite movie comedies, whether it is romantic, foolish, or dark comedy. Jim Carey, Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, and Tyler Perry make many laugh with their movies. Some of my personal favorites are Dumb and Dumber, Happy Gilmore, There’s Something About Mary, Beverly Hills Cop, and Diary of a Mad Black Woman. Create your own list to fall back on.

Laughter Yoga

It’s true. Laughter has proven to be so beneficial to our physical and mental health that Laughter Yoga has been created as a class to attend. What do you do for Laughter Yoga? You laugh, of course. You laugh from the very center of your being with an instructor to lead you and fellow classmates to follow along. Sound crazy? Big deal! These people are laughing themselves into good health while others are digging their own grave by wallowing.

In a Laughter Yoga class, the laughter is contagious. It may be full of complete strangers, but the laughter begins to come naturally and encompasses all in the class.

Explanation of the Benefits of Laughter Yoga

Final Words on Laughter

Of course there are times when you will not feel like laughing. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, you are not finding ways to cheer yourself up, and it is quite natural to go through the grieving process. There comes a point, though, when you must remember your own health. Do what you have to do for your family, friends, or job, but do not allow yourself to sink so low that your immune system breaks down and you can’t get back up. Only you are responsible for your physical health, or you may help others with laughter for their health too. So find ways to laugh.

My Favorite Video When I Need to Laugh

© 2012 Susan Holland


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    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      6 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Kerlund! If we can't be around people who make us laugh, going to a class is the next best thing, especially when everyone is there to laugh.

      Thanks for dropping by! :-)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      6 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Paula, I am so glad you dropped by again to share your joke! A second opinion is always good, right?? LOL I don't think I will fill in any names. LOL

      Thanks so much!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      6 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Oh, Peggy, I couldn't agree more. Being around people who makes us laugh is the best medicine, even when we might be going through the worst times.

      Thanks so much for dropping by and sharing! :-)

    • kerlund74 profile image


      6 years ago from Sweden

      I know this works, I have tried. I have been to classes to fake laugh until I really feel like I am happy. It works:) Great hub, I enjoyed reading!

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Carson City

      Second time around, deserves another comment! This is a good place for me to repeat a joke. I just shared it recently on a forum. You can use any name in this joke.....doesn't matter who the person is.

      Tom hated Drs. He never wanted to see a Dr. for any reason. His wife finally convinced him he HAD to have a good physical. So he's in the office and the Dr. is going through a routine physical. The Dr. finally says, "Well, I'm recommending lap band surgery, you are much too fat!"......Tom, horrified, says, " Whoa! Wait a minute. I want a second opinion!" and the Dr.s says, "OK, you're ugly too!"

      ROFLMAO!!!!! Laughter cures everything!!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I love being around cheerful people and yes, laughter is contagious! Seeing that Lucy photo made me think of all the funny skits done over the years on her show. :)) Excellent hub. Will retweet!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Hi Epi! A good laugh is great for stress. You do so well mixing humor and serious, thought provoking subjects in your writing. I do so love your poetry.

      Enjoy your weekend and give your cats an extra hug from me! I am so glad you dropped by! :-)

    • epigramman profile image


      7 years ago

      Hello my sensational Susan - what an amazing collection of hub subjects you have here - it is quite an eclectic mix.

      This just may well be the definitive and essential hub on the joys and benefits of laughter. I suffer from stress, anxiety and situational depressional so laughter and humor is essential to my well being and that's why you see a lot of humor and wit in my writing. I also like to mix it up with serious and thought provoking pieces too. Such is the yin and yang in life.

      I adore Audrey Hepburn's quote here and all of the hard work and research that you put into this hub. Believe me I appreciate it very much.

      So here I sit on this rather cold night by the lake with my cats and we are sending you our sincere warmest wishes for a nice safe and happy weekend. lake erie time ontario canada 9:54pm

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Thank you, Jackson. It seems you read my other hub on "Quality Time with Family." This hub is about how laughter is good for you. I appreciate you reading both. When it comes down to it, laughter and family belong together. :-)

      Thanks for dropping by! :-)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Susan - you have a beautiful family! I loved the photos! I am agreeing with you 110% again! I think people get confused about what quality time really means anymore. I see parents that just drop their kids off at our softball games and don't even watch that! Or the parents that think that IS quality times they lack other routes of communication,

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Emmanuel, I love that baby. I can always watch that video and feel better. :-)

      Thanks for dropping by! :-)

    • Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

      Emmanuel Kariuki 

      8 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      I should learn from that baby and look for jokes - anywhere. Great hub!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Audry and JellyGator, thanks for dropping by... I hope you have much laughter in your life. :-)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @Tammy, that baby video helps me every time!! :-)

      @Jools, he'll be exercising, too. LOL

      @ You are welcome, Thomas. I hope you stay in your happy place. :-)

    • msLarayne profile image


      8 years ago from New York, NY

      Laughing definitely helps make a quick attitude adjustment! When's the last time you saw a cute kid or baby and didn't smile? It has that same affect!

    • nylarej profile image


      8 years ago from Ph

      great hub!

      My friends and I have a session called "Laugh Session" once every month and it really helps to lessen stress after the session we feel really revived!

    • jellygator profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      I love that video!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      8 years ago from California

      Laughter is the best medicine!

    • ThoughtSandwiches profile image


      8 years ago from Reno, Nevada


      Well now...this is some self-medication that I can get behind! I've noticed that when I'm feeling stressed I can't do what I like best..writing the (occasional) humorous have to be in a happy place to do that effectively I think.

      Laughter is like a ladder out of my dark place. Thanks for reminding me!


    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      8 years ago from North-East UK

      sholland10 - great hub. Now I know when I'm laughing I can also tell dear hubby that I am also exercising....I think that might make him laugh, so it's all good :o)

    • tammyswallow profile image


      8 years ago from North Carolina

      This is so true and such a feel good hub. The baby in the video is hilarious. Thanks for the chuckles. I feel better already. :)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Thank you, Laurinzo! Laughter helps us heal and feel balanced. :-)

      Thanks for dropping by! :-)

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image

      LJ Scott 

      8 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Yes this is such a truth, and a really intriguing hub especially considering what stress does to the body, and how it breaks down systems. Laughter is indeed so important. Great hub!!!!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      TillsonTitan, I CAN see you smile and it is BEAUTIFUL!! :-) It is the best medicine in the world. Can you imagine if people could leave their work at work and come home and truly enjoy their family and friends with humor and laughter what a different world we would live in??

      Thanks for the history with little Micah. What a little blessing he has been to so many. His dad did a very good thing for the masses when he posted that priceless video.

      Thanks so much for dropping by! Please keep joy and laughter always close to you! Thanks for the votes!! :-)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Oh Sharon, that is a wonderful story... from having cancer, to keeping a good attitude and sense of humor, to life... he lived a miracle that he probably created himself because he refused to let his cancer sink him. I would love to see his workshops on laughter. That is absolutely awesome!!

      Thanks for dropping by!! :-)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      8 years ago from New York

      Can you see me smile? Laughter is the best medicine in the world and you've done it up well.

      Little Micah is all over the Internet and has he's grown he's gotten cuter and funnier? His first word was 'giggle'. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all be so innocent and carefree and giggle!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 

      8 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      This is great Susan. I can't remember if I told you about a boss I had who was diagnosed with cancer and given 6 months to live when he was about 35 years old. He turned to alternative treatments, humor being his main interest, and he is alive and over 60 years old now. He has since given workshops on the health benefits of laughter. Great hub and fun too!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      BeingWell, it really is the best medicine. It helps us stay young and healthy. Now, if it cured wrinkles, I would be laughing all the time. LOL

      Thanks for dropping by! :-)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Iefox, I agree! Laughter does give us relief from many pressures that plaque all of us. I guess that is why I wrote this. Gotta find a way to laugh. :D

      Thanks for dropping by! :)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Thanks, BarberGirl! I hope you catch it a lot!! :D

    • beingwell profile image


      8 years ago from Bangkok

      I believe tha it is the best medicine. It truly is! Haha!:) Laughter is also an effective way to counter the effects of aging. Sharing this one.

    • iefox5 profile image


      8 years ago

      Hahaha, laughter is really a great way to release pressure and frustration.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 

      8 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Great hub... laughing has so many benefits and like having a cold, it is contagious... So keep on laughing and others will follow! Love this!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Thanks, Vinaya! LOL :D

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      8 years ago from Nepal

      I have been a laughing therapy. Laughing out loud has many health benefits.

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Sonny and Sofs, keep that wonderful, healthy laughter going so you can keep going, too. :D

      Thanks for dropping by and the votes and shares. :-)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Thanks, Ruchira! Lucy is definitely what the doctor ordered when it comes to prescribing laughter. :-)

      Thanks for dropping by!

    • sofs profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub. I will go with Audrey Hepburn... she really makes sense.. it is indeed the most important part of life.. I am always matter what I am going through :) LOL :)

    • Sonny Ellar profile image

      Sonny Ellar 

      8 years ago from Saudi Arabia

      Yay so I was right all along (Laughing again) no matter what trial I go through, no matter how many things I have to worry about, I always find time to make myself laugh (by watching Just for laugh) I giggle or even lol whether someone's watching or I'm alone it doesn't matter. sometime's I read jokes.

      I love this Hub! Up and shared!

    • Ruchira profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      I love lucy and she has always been my best medicine of laughter when i am home alone.

      loved this hub, sholland. voted up and sharing it across

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @Lovedoctor - Big Bang Theory is definitely good laughter therapy. I love those nerds! :-)

      @HealthierInfo - laughter is good medicine in any language. :-)

      Thank you both for dropping by. I wish you much laughter in your future!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Cyndi and Kelly, that laughing baby is a cure-all. LOL

      Cyndi, I am glad your dog got in on it. That is too funny and healthy for your pup, too. :-)

      Kelly, I hope she doesn't become book burner. OH MY!! I am so glad you have such a great outlook on life. You are going to outlive us all with your ability/blessing of seeing humor in a bad situation (neighbors from hell hub).

      Thanks for dropping by, Girls! I am sure we could all share a good laugh if we were ever fortunate enough to meet. :-)

    • healthierinfo profile image


      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      good laugh is all that a person want.thanks

      sorry for my english i am french :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a very good hub! I think you mentioned everything about the benefits of laughter. That LOL sign is making me laugh out loud.

      If you want to turn that frown upside down, all you have to do is turn in to the Big Bang Theory. On several occasions, the nerds are just doing their science. In one episode, Raj finds himself unable to speak to this one woman that he liked.

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri


      I can relate to laughing when someone else is laughing. Laughter is so contagious. I would have been more tickled at his laughter than the movie.

      Thanks so much for dropping by and the votes. :-)

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      That video is hilarious! Lol. That little girl is gonna be a book burner isn't she!!

      I totally believe in the power of laughter. I know those endorphins are released and make you feel better. No matter what - no matter how poor I've ever been - I have afforded laughter!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for the laughing baby. Even my dog had to get in on that laughter. Laughter is a wonderful thing. I've been known to laugh out loud at a ridiculous sitcom or two. This was great. Sharing the laughter.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi Susan,

      I am still laughing. Loved the video of the baby laughing.

      I remember years ago my friend Cathy and I went to a Disney Movie. The movie was funny but what was even funnier was the laugh of the man behind us. We were in hysterics when he started to laugh and we couldn't stop when his wife or girlfriend said, "Honey I think those girls are laughing at you.

      Voted up up and away.

      Take care :)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      AExploring, VCoach, and Dr. FM, I am glad you enjoyed the hub and the video. The laughing baby video just makes me feel joy in my heart and soul. That has got to be good for you! :-)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Bob, yours is my favorite comment!! It is good to laugh with you, my dear friend!!! LOL HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

    • Dr Funom Makama profile image

      Dr Funom Makama 

      8 years ago from Europe

      This is beautiful, thanks for the fantastic share.

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      I see that many of you like a good laugh, too. HAHAHA!

      Paula, I am not surprised at all that you come from a family who loves to laugh - ME, TOO! :D

      Susan, I had to pick that baby video. There is nothing like a laughing baby!

      All of you are on the right track with keeping laughter as part of your life. Now, spread it everywhere you go!

      Thanks for dropping by! :-)

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Oh how I love this hub! And the videos are hilarious. I would love to attend a yoga laughing class. What a great idea. You are on-of-a-kind and it's a treat to associate with you.

      Voting this up and more!

      Hahahahahahahaha! I love to laugh.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      8 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I love to laugh. The video made me LOL. Great article. Thank you..

    • profile image


      8 years ago


      Great hub!


    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 

      8 years ago from United States

      Laughter is a wonderful thing and is great for health! I am a proponent of it. Great hub!

    • Literary Geisha profile image

      Literary Geisha 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      this is so true, and i can attest to this. i found that a great practice when waking up every morning is to smile... that one small thing is enough to get you in a good mood. so much so with laughter!

      i want to try that laughter yoga class! wish we had that here.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I had to laugh when I saw which video you picked when you need to laugh. Happy baby commercials are the best. I can be in a miserable mood and one of these commercials come on and the bad mood is instantly gone.

      Laughter is the best medicine!

      Great hub!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Susan, Wonderful therapy this. I would term it as such as laughing is self healing. And contagious with positive vibes being spread all around. Who would want to be around a negative & pessimistic person all the time?

      Great hub idea and well written. I really love those episodes of "Here's Lucy". Her TV episodes are a laugh riot.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

      Shared as well.

    • FitnessProDee profile image

      Dana Gore 

      8 years ago

      Found this in the Facebook group. LOVE it! Shared and voted up

    • fpherj48 profile image


      8 years ago from Carson City

      Susan...You needn't go very far to convince me, of all people, the importance and benefit of laughter! I was literally raised with lots of humor all around. I believe every member of my family and the friends I've acquired through the years.....can be labeled "The Laughing Bandits."

      Nothing heals like a smile.....nothing can sound like beautiful music, as the laughter of children......Thank you for this awesome hub. I voted UP and across the board!!!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      8 years ago

      Laughter is great medicine for the soul. I have not heard of yoga laughter but it does make sense that it would help. I love that baby video, it is so contagious!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Laughter might just be the right medicine according to researchers. Great hub! I always get the giggles right after a good workout once I've showered and had lunch of course. LOL.

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Thanks, Bill! Laughter can heal a multitude of ailments. So, have a good laugh with me!! HAHAHA!! :D

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are speaking my language my friend. Great hub and I laughed when I saw Lucille Ball. Love your attitude!


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