Laugh Your Way To Less Stress And A Better Brain

Mar 4, 2016 | Stress

Laughter is serious business

When life feels a bit stressful or routine, changing it up and having some laughs will lighten your mood, reduce your stress, and improve your brain!

Serious and stressed

Feeling a bit stressed or in a rut these days? Sometimes we get caught up in our own lives, take ourselves a bit too seriously, and forget to have some fun. Yup, fun – remember that?

Sadly, we can get stuck in a pattern of stress, conflict, or simply a no-fun routine. When a pattern develops, we easily revert to that pattern and forget about other options, and then the situation worsens.

In my coaching, when a client is stuck and things feel too heady or serious, sometimes what’s most helpful is to totally change it up and lighten the mood.

The American Congress could take a lesson from the English on this. Have you ever watched a session of Parliament? Debates can be very heated, but they are not without humor. It’s not uncommon to hear boisterous jeers and laughter. One gets the sense that they may actually be having some fun while they are disagreeing with each other.

Laughter improves stress, learning and memory

As the old saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. Fun and laughter can quickly change a perspective, ease stress and promote better brain health. I’m serious. Research has been done on this.

According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter can quickly improve your oxygen intake, stimulate your organs, improve your circulation, and increase endorphins, all of which result in calming your stress response. And in the longterm, laughter can improve your immune system, help relieve pain, and increase your overall happiness.

One scientific study in particular by Dr. Grinder Bains of Loma Linda University in Southern California, found that laughter not only lowered the level of the stress hormone cortisol, but also significantly improved people’s learning ability and memory.

See, laughter is a serious business – and you don’t even need a prescription.

So do something to make yourself laugh today, and the next day, and the next…

To learn more about stress and your brain, check out more of my posts on stress, and this stress guide by John Parrott with tons of facts all in one place. (Knowledge is power, baby!)

What are you laughing at?

What makes you laugh? What’s your favorite funny movie or joke? My top faves are Monty Python’s Holy Grail, and This is Spinal Tap. Share your humor here, or past this post along to someone who might want to lighten it up a bit.

Have fun!

Photo: “Laughter” by Nina A.J. at 



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Jen Riggs Blog

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Jennifer is the creator of Pathways to Change, a framework for mindful leadership development that integrates coaching, neuroscience, mindfulness and mind-body principles.

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