"5 Good Reasons to Laugh Right Now" by Director of Academic Support Gia Batty
It may seem unconventional, but one of my best study tips these days is for students to remember to laugh, even if they have to fake it. I spend a lot of time with kids who are having trouble managing their work, who are feeling stressed and overloaded, and while laughing isn’t going to solve the problem of how best to prepare for an HHC test or when the Chemistry lab report will get written, recent studies have shown what we’ve known all along--that laughing (even fake laughing) is good for you!
Let’s face it, we all could use a few real reasons why we should be laughing more.
1. “We don’t laugh because we’re happy. We’re happy because we laugh.”
Dick Baker shared this wonderful quote with me when I first started thinking about this topic. It’s William James, considered the father of American psychology, and he definitely had it right. Over one hundred years later, the current research tells us that laughing doesn’t just signal happiness, it produces it. Laughter increases endorphin production which not only boosts your mood, but can relieve stress, increase energy, and reduce your perception of pain. Whether it’s that Amy Schumer clip, a joke your daughter told you, or someone tickling your ribs, it’s all good! Keep laughing. Your happiness depends on it!
2. You’ll live longer
As it turns out laughing is actually good for your health, especially your heart. One study found that heart patients who were made to laugh daily had a significantly decreased risk of a second heart attack. Another found that people who consider themselves optimists are 50% less likely to experience cardiovascular disease. Do we need a better reason not to be so pessimistic?
3. Faking it works just as well.
Guess what? Studies show that our bodies can’t tell the difference between fake and real laughter. We get the same physiological and emotional benefits even if we’re faking it! Just forcing yourself to smile or letting out a loud “Ha!” can encourage the release of endorphins. Did you know that “laughter yoga” was a thing? Well, it is. You can also hire a “laughter leader” to do some formal therapeutic laughter exercises with your team or office to boost morale. A laughter economy! Who knew?
4. It’s good for your career.
According to Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind, one of the six characteristics of tomorrow’s leaders is the “sense of play.” He sees humor as an “accurate marker for managerial effectiveness and emotional intelligence” and points to the research that shows that the most effective leaders use humor twice as often than their less effective peers. The ability to laugh and to make people laugh is good for you and good for your career. Laughter disarms people, it reduces stress and it can boost creativity and productivity.
5. It’s in our mission statement!
Did you know that one of our guiding community principles actually includes humor? Humor has been a part of the mission statement since its revision in 1977. Our current mission statement affirms that the Nobles community “espouses humility, humor, collaboration, honesty, and respect for others as the foundations of a vibrant learning community.” In classes, in the alcoves, on stage in Lawrence, we definitely appreciate a good joke, a funny story, and a sense of humor. After all, #bigdawgsgottaespousehumor, right?
To get you started, here are three jokes my ten-year-old son told me:
Where does a sheep go for a haircut? To the baaaaa-baaaaa shop!
What did the ghost have in his nose? Boooo-gers!
What does a nosey pepper do? Gets jalapeño business!
Are you smiling? Good. Keep it up. It’s good for you!