It’s time to giggle away your worries as study suggests laughter can reduce stress levels

There is plenty of advice on stress management out there. But turns out, laughter might work as one of the most effective ways of dealing with stress.
laughter yoga
Laugh it off baby! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Team Health Shots Published: 2 Aug 2020, 14:33 pm IST
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When it comes to stress management, there is plenty of advice going around—then be it practicing mediation or working out every day. But there’s one way to bust stress that rarely makes it to the top ten list: laughter therapy. Yes, you can literally laugh off stress. And if you don’t believe us, then put your trust in this research from University of Basel which suggests that people who laugh frequently in their daily lives are better equipped to deal with stressful events.

Published in the journal PLOS ONE, the research paper studied the relationship between stressful events and laughter in terms of perceived stress in everyday life.

Here’s what the research paper has to say
According to the researches people typically laugh 18 times a day — generally during interactions with other people and depending on the degree of pleasure they experience. They also reported differences related to the time of day, age, and gender.

In the intensive longitudinal study, a mobile phone app prompted participants to answer questions eight times a day at irregular intervals for a period of 14 days. The questions related to the frequency and intensity of laughter and the reason for laughing—as well as any stressful events or stress symptoms experienced—in the time since the last prompt.

Laughing can make a huge difference in dealing with stress and anxiety. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

First the researchers discovered that the subjects who laughed frequently, only showed symptoms of subjective stress during stress events. But when it came to the interplay between stressful events and intensity of laughter (strong, medium or weak), there was no statistical correlation with stress symptoms. “This could be because people are better at estimating the frequency of their laughter, rather than its intensity, over the last few hours,” as per the research team.

Laughter might truly be the best medicine
This isn’t the first-time laughter has been co-related with low levels of stress. In fact, previous research suggests that laughter reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol and releases happy hormones endorphins in the body.

Additionally, laughter also takes away the focus from negative emotions like anger, guilt, and sadness—thus pushing you in a positive state of mind.

But if you’re wondering how can you bring laughter into your life, especially when you are stressed? Well, you can watch stand-up acts on YouTube, turn on a comedy film, call up your friends and reminisce goofy times. In the end remember, when it comes to stress management—laughter might truly be the best medicine.

(With inputs for ANI)

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