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The Positive Effects Of Laughter for Stress Relief

What are the positive effects of laughter?

Laughter is real self-help…

Laughter is drug-free…

And you don’t need a psychotherapist!

The Positive Effects of Laughter

Laughter has an effective and specific role to play in reducing tension and stress

When you succumb to a fit of laughter, you become physically limp. You might even have to sit down, for fear of falling down.

You may have even literally “fallen down laughing”

I have!

This feeling is caused by a loss of tension in the skeletal muscles. Less intense laughter produces a relatively smaller muscle relaxation. Immediately following laughter, you may experience a loss of muscle tone to the degree that it makes it difficult or impossible to write, thread a needle or perform other tasks requiring fine muscle coordination.

One of the positive effects of laughter is the way we respond to it. The relaxation response to laughter has been studied scientifically – and this is what happens…

The sensation begins with an anticipatory response, when you perceive that something is potentially funny. When you hear a joke, you anticipate that there will be something funny, and as you listen to the build-up, there is a short-term increase in arousal or stress. Your pulse, peripheral skin temperature and blood pressure rises. The punchline arrives and you enjoy a good laugh…

As the laughter begins to subside after the punchline, this short-term effect begins to decrease.

And this is the interesting part…

Tension continues to decrease until it is substantially lower than before the humor stimulus began…

This decrease can continue for some time and has been measured as lasting up to forty five minutes…

The greater the intensity of the laughter, the larger the decrease in tension and the more long-lasting the effect.

The positive effects of laughter’s ability to cause the muscles to go suddenly limp is very effective in stress relief…

It is difficult to feel anxious when your muscles are in a state of deep relaxation; muscle relaxation and anxiety are incompatible.

Stress reduction through laughter not only makes you feel physically better but can help you find the cause of emotional problems. You are more able to explore the sources of your distress when you are relaxed.

We all have a sense of humor!

What is funny to you may not be funny to me BUT we can all find something to laugh at and can all benefit from the positive effects of laughter!

Here is a joke to start you laughing…

This is supposed to be the transcript of an actual radio conversation between a US naval ship and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995. The Radio conversation was released by the Chief of Naval Operations on Oct. 10, 1995.

– Please change your direction 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.

– Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to South to avoid a collision.

– This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

– No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.


– This is a lighthouse. Your call.

Click here to see what others have to say about laughter.

Now make your own list of things that make you laugh

Silly jokes…

Funny movies…

A particular friend…

A memory of a very funny moment…

Keep the list on hand and add to it…

On those days that you feel as if there is nothing in your life to make you laugh, look at your list, pick a ‘funny’ and have a good laugh…

Even if you have to force it at first. Even forced laughter will give you the positive effects of laughter.

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