Healing through humor
A giggle is good for the body and soul.
Juliette Allen Published: 9/16/2019
When was the last time you had a good laugh? I don’t mean a little chuckle. I mean that deep-in-your-belly, eyes-watering, can-barely-breathe kind of roar. Now ask yourself, when was the last time you needed a good laugh like that?
“Studies have found laughter has both physiological and psychological benefits, including decreasing depression, decreasing anxiety, strengthening immunity, decreasing pain, decreasing stress hormones, and increasing social support,” said Henry Benson, PhD, a licensed psychologist with Baptist Behavioral Health. “In elderly populations, some studies have reported an improvement in quality-of-life scores, improvement in sleep quality, increased life satisfaction, and decreased pain.”
Yet, we’ve all had those days when we simply don’t feel like laughing. Ironically, those are probably the days we need it most. It turns out, that old phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” might be the key.
“Even simulated laughter has been found to significantly reduce depression,” Dr. Benson said. “The simple act of smiling has a positive impact. It has a contagious effect that can increase positive emotion within the individual and can influence a positive response from others. You can try watching a comedy. Romantic comedies are great because they are a two-for-one dose of positive emotion: love and laughter. Another exercise I recommend is going to the greeting card aisle and looking for humorous cards to read.”
Need a laugh?
Members of our Juice team share what always gets them giggling:
- Juliette Allen: I’m obsessed with my dogs, so pretty much any photo or video of them gets me going. One of my favorite videos is from my dog’s first Halloween. She was dressed as a hot dog and wouldn’t stop hopping like a kangaroo. What I love just as much, though, is my mom’s commentary and her own laughter.
- Vikki Mioduszewski: My brother is hilarious and can always make me laugh. I have a couple of college friends who make me laugh (and vice versa) because they really know me and get my history and sense of humor. Private jokes are the best. I also love to stream a comedy special (Wanda Sykes is a favorite) or a funny, smart show like “The Office.”
- Joanna Licherdell: I can usually count on my siblings for a guaranteed laugh, but I also could spend a good amount of time laughing at memes on @middleclassfancy’s Instagram account. When all else fails, I watch this video of my daughter, Colette, laughing when she was three months old.
- Beth Stambaugh: There are a few things that always make me laugh, including “SpongeBob SquarePants,” getting together with my favorite friends and watching old TV shows like “Gilligan’s Island.” My brothers and I always laugh when we reminisce on things from childhood. Also, I’ve been known to dance in convenience stores to the overhead music. Yup, just did it with my daughter the other day.
- Cynthia Klusmeyer: There’s an app where you can record your voice and make your pets “talk.” I love watching them and making my own talking dog videos.
- Janine Landowski: Silly dog videos! I usually come across them on Facebook.
- Wesley Roberts: I always phone a friend when I need a good laugh. I also have an Instagram chat with a huge group of my friends called “Lindsey sends memes.” She sends us all so many memes per day and they always crack me up!
- Sarah Collins: For a guaranteed laugh, I can always count on “America’s Funniest Home Videos” or my son, Sawyer.