The Science of Laughter

caregiver support dementia care self-care Oct 07, 2021

In the late 1960’s, Dr. William Fry, a Stanford University psychiatrist, began to study the effects of humor and laughter on the human body.

It was then that gelotology…otherwise known as the science of laughter…was born.
Charles Dickens once said…

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”

And we could not agree more!

Not only is laughter contagious…it yields a host of health benefits.

For starters, it triggers the release of endorphins.

Often referred to as “feel good hormones”, endorphins reduce your stress and tension...

Your blood flow increases, which protects your heart…

Your pain tolerance and immunity get a boost…

And if that’s not enough, it’s just plain fun!

It feels good to laugh.


When life circumstances make it hard to find the funny, what can you do?

Smile anyway.

That’s right…studies show that a fake smile or simulated laugh can be just as beneficial as the real thing.

Your brain doesn’t know the difference…

Which means your body and mind reap the same benefits.

So, if your favorite comedian or silliest friend aren’t tickling your funny bone, “fake it till you make it” with these ideas:

  • Make yourself smile. Science says that the movements of facial muscles trigger the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormone.
  • When you hear laughter, move toward it. Just like smiling, laughter can be contagious.
  • Check out Laughter On Call for resources to create connection through shared laughter.
  • And our personal favorite from Shirley Maclaine…“As long as you can laugh at yourself, you will never cease to be amused.”

Whatever you do, find a way to smile and laugh every day. Making a conscious effort to cultivate humor will serve you and the people in your life.

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