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Get Ready to Laugh! Even Anticipating Laughter Raises Endorphin Levels

Few things can match the good feelings that come from a hearty laugh, so it's easy to understand why scientists are turning to laughter as their focus of research.

Many studies have found that laughing can reduce stress and improve your health, but a new study found that laughing may be more powerful than anyone realized; as it turns out, even just the thought of laughing has an effect on your body chemistry.


Even anticipating laughter can make you feel good!

Endorphin Levels Increase at the Thought of Laughter

California researchers assigned 16 young men to one of two groups. Three days before the experiment began, one group was told they would be watching a funny video and the other was told they would be the control group.

In the video group, beta-endorphins were 27 percent higher and human growth hormone 87 percent higher just before they watched the video than in the control group.

"It may sound corny, but we in the health care medical sciences need to 'get serious about happiness' and the lifestyle that produces it, relative to mind, body and spirit and its biotranslation," said Lee Berk of Loma Linda University.

Why is raising your endorphin levels a good thing? Endorphins are natural "pain killers" released by your body, which also contribute to a sense of well-being. It is endorphins that are thought to be responsible for the good feelings that come after exercising (and possibly the so-called "runner's high") and orgasm.

Human growth hormone controls growth and development from childhood into adolescence, then begins to decrease around age 20. This decrease in human growth hormone, though natural, is thought by some to be involved in the aging process.

Laughing is Good for Your Heart Health

Other than boosting your mood with endorphins, laughing appears to have a very positive effect on your heart.

Michael Miller of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues found that there's a connection between blood vessels' ability to expand (vasodilation) and laughter. If vasodilation is poor, it can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

They found that after 20 adults watched clips of a violent movie and a humorous movie:

  • Blood flow was significantly reduced (by about 35 percent) in 14 of the 20 volunteers who saw the stressful film.

  • Blood flow significantly increased (by 22 percent) in 19 of the 20 volunteers after watching the funny movie.

When the participants laughed, researchers said, the improvement in blood flow was equal to the improvements seen after a 15- or 30-minute workout!

" ... In a sense, we have our own apothecary on our shoulders. Positive emotions such as laughter affect your biology," said Berk.

Ready to Raise Your Endorphins With Laughter?

Want to try out the benefits for yourself? Prepare to have your endorphin levels raised with these two jokes below ... and be sure to turn up your computer volume and check out the online videos in the sidebar!


Check out the videos below and get ready to chuckle!

Funny Video 1:
Einstein the Bird: A Truly Amazing, Hilarious Parrot You

Funny Video 2:
Cat Fights for Food: A Quick Funny One of a Take-Control Cat

Joke 1) Sorry for Eating the Peanuts

A man visits his aunt in the nursing home. It turns out that she is taking a nap, so he just sits down in a chair in her room, flips through a few magazines, and munches on some peanuts sitting in a bowl on the table.

Eventually, the aunt wakes up, and her nephew realizes he's absentmindedly finished the entire bowl.

"I'm so sorry, auntie, I've eaten all of your peanuts!"

"That's okay, dearie," the aunt replied. "After I've sucked the chocolate off, I don't care for them anyway."

Joke 2) So you really want a day off of work?

So you want a day off? Let's take a look at what you are asking for. There are 365 days per year available for work. There are 52 weeks per year in which you already have 2 days off per week, leaving 261 days available for work.

Since you spend 16 hours each day away from work, you have used up 170 days, leaving only 91 days available. You spend 30 minutes each day on coffee break, which counts for 23 days each year, leaving only 68 days available.

With a one-hour lunch each day, you used up another 46 days, leaving only 22 days available for work. You normally spend 2 days per year on sick leave. This leaves you only 20 days per year available for work. We are off 5 holidays per year, so your available working time is down to 15 days.

We generously give 14 days vacation per year, which leaves only 1 day available for work and I'll be darned if you are going to take that day off!

Recommended Reading

Why Humor is Therapeutic

The Top Six Signs that Someone is Physically Attracted to You


Science Daily April 4, 2006

Funny Hub

Aha Jokes

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