The Benefits of Laughter on Mental Health

You might have heard the age-old adage, “Laughter is the best medicine” and there is a surprising truth behind it. Laughter is one of the best ways to achieve an instant mood boost, especially when we find ourselves feeling down. Beyond its ability to bring joy and happiness, laughter has a profound impact on mental health. In this blog, we delve into the benefits of laughter on mental well-being, exploring how it promotes stress reduction and helps combat some mental health challenges. 

Stress Reduction

One of the most fascinating benefits of laughter lies in its ability to reduce stress levels. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the brain's natural feel-good chemicals, which promote relaxation and alleviate tension. When we laugh, our muscles relax, our heart rate decreases, and our blood pressure lowers, creating a sense of calm and tranquility. 

Laughter reduces the production of stress hormones like cortisol, thereby mitigating the negative effects of chronic stress on mental health. Incorporating laughter into our daily lives can act as a powerful stress management technique, offering relief from the demands of daily life.

Decreased Anxiety and Depression

Laughter therapy is a proven technique utilized by trained therapists to help fight off anxiety and depression in patients. An analysis of 29 different studies across 9 countries demonstrated just how effective this innovative method is. Most participants claimed that they felt an improvement in their symptoms after taking part in laughter yoga or visiting with a medical clown. This is a successful treatment because it alters dopamine and serotonin activity. In a sense, we can hack our systems and induce the release of “feel-good” neurotransmitters.


A good laugh is a potent antidote to a poor mood. It acts as a natural mood booster by stimulating the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which are essential for regulating emotions and promoting feelings of happiness and well-being. Engaging in laughter, whether through watching a comedy show or sharing humorous anecdotes with friends, can elevate our mood, making us feel more positive and optimistic. Laughter's ability to shift our perspective and inject some much-needed lightheartedness into our lives can be particularly beneficial in times of sadness or adversity.

Social Connections

Laughter has an undeniable social aspect that brings people closer together. Shared laughter creates bonds and a sense of belonging, as well as enhancing interpersonal relationships. When we laugh with others, we experience a sense of camaraderie and connectedness, strengthening our social support networks. Laughter can break down barriers, dissolve tension, and bridge gaps between people, enabling more meaningful and fulfilling interactions. Engaging in laughter with loved ones, friends, or even a stranger can create shared experiences and memories.

You’ll find that people that are isolated often suffer from poor mental health and this is rooted in a lack of companionship. Bonding with other people and feeling connected is incredibly important for mental health. Without connection, we can fall victim to depression very quickly. 

Resilience Building

Life is replete with challenges, setbacks, and stressors. Developing resilience is important for maintaining good mental health and navigating these difficulties. Laughter plays a role in building resilience by offering a coping mechanism and a fresh perspective. In the face of adversity, laughter can provide a temporary escape, allowing us to regain composure and approach problems with a renewed mindset. It helps us find light in dark times, reduces the intensity of negative emotions, and instills hope. The ability to laugh at ourselves and find humor in challenging situations enhances our adaptability and empowers us to bounce back from adversity with increased strength.

How To Cultivate More Laughter in Your Life

If you find yourself yearning for more laughter in your life, you're not alone. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to infuse your days with more joy and humor.

  • Seek Out Humor: Surround yourself with things that make you laugh. You can try watching funny TV shows, reading humorous books, or following comedians on social media. Fill your environment with humor and allow laughter to become a natural part of your daily routine.

  • Spend Time with Funny People: Laughter is contagious; being around funny and light-hearted individuals can bring more laughter into your life. Seek to spend time with friends or family members who have a great sense of humor and enjoy their company. Together, you can share funny stories, jokes, and experiences, and create an atmosphere of joy and laughter together.

  • Practice Playfulness: Rediscover your inner child and engage in playful activities. Whether it's playing games, engaging in creative hobbies, or simply goofing around, embracing a sense of playfulness can lead to spontaneous bursts of laughter. Let go of inhibitions and allow yourself to be silly and carefree.

  • Cultivate a Positive Perspective: Learn to find humor in everyday situations and adopt a lighthearted attitude. Train yourself to see the lighter side of life's challenges and setbacks. When faced with adversity, ask yourself, "What's the funny side of this situation?" Shifting your perspective can help you find laughter even during difficult times.

  • Practice Self-Laughter: Laughing at yourself can be liberating and bring a sense of lightness. Embrace your quirks, imperfections, and funny moments. Don't take yourself too seriously and allow yourself to have a good laugh at your own expense.

  • Find Joy in the Simple Things: Take time to appreciate the small pleasures in life that bring a smile to your face. It could be watching a sunset, cuddling with a pet, listening to your favorite music, or spending time in nature. When you find joy in these simple moments, laughter naturally follows.

What If You Find Yourself Unable To "Discover the Humor"? 

Surprisingly, laughter doesn't always require a genuinely funny situation. Simulated laughter can be just as beneficial as the real deal, offering numerous advantages. It can even inject a sense of fun and productivity into your exercise routine. A recent study revealed that incorporating simulated laughter into an exercise program not only enhanced the mental well-being of older adults but also improved their aerobic endurance. The contagious nature of laughter means that hearing others laugh, even without any apparent reason, can often elicit genuine laughter in return.

Next time you find yourself struggling mentally, throw on a funny movie or give a friend a call. You’ll likely notice that you feel better quickly and are able to pull yourself out from the dark place you were in. It is important to note that laughter is insufficient to treat severe mental health conditions. Anyone who is suffering from suicidal ideation, panic attacks, depression, or other concerning symptoms should seek help immediately.

We Can Help!

Online Treatment Programs provides Teletherapy Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs allowing participants to receive intensive therapy with our licensed therapists and psychiatrists without having to leave home.  If you or someone you know is struggling to overcome depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma, panic attacks, PTSD, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other mental health or addiction issues, we can help.  To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our teletherapy programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

MHThrive provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit our website to learn more.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any severe mental health or substance abuse issues, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Online Treatment Programs

06 September, 2023

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