THE SCIENCE OF LAUGHTER & POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY

It’s not news that laugher can help in any situation. It’s an accepted truism...which scientists have confirmed, also demonstrating that a positive perspective can help change the outcome of a situation. They’ve also shown that developing a positive outlook can be learned.




U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
endores the "Ace Study"


The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention has released a study that clearly demonstrates what many of us have discovered through life experience. We at Giggleboxes believe that it is time to begin implementing changes that address the healing process of disease by including the emotional well-being of the patient. The time has come to address the entire human experience.

The CDC has endorsed the ACE study demonstrating the affect of exposure to traumatic stressors, which they have termed Adverse Childhood Stressors.

The ACE Score is used to assess the total amount of stress during childhood and has demonstrated that as the number of ACE increase, the risk for the following health problems increases in a strong and graded fashion:

  • Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Depression
  • Fetal death
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Illicit drug use
  • Ischemic heart disease (IHD)
  • Liver disease
  • Risk for intimate partner violence
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Smoking
  • Suicide attempts
  • Unintended pregnancies
  • Early initiation of smoking
  • Early initiation of sexual activity
  • Adolescent pregnancy

Laughter: The Bridge to a positive change in perspective


True mirthful laughter can be created deliberately by first pretending to laugh. Then - due to the amazing nature of laughter - this manufactured laughter turns into the real thing. This is best accomplished in a group, as laughing connects people and has contagious qualities (remember when just one kid in class had a giggle fit, and suddenly everyone was cracking up?). But if you’re alone, you can still tickle your own funnybone with deliberate intention and humorous aids.

Laughter is a universal language. Robert Provine, the author of Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, was quoted in a news interview as saying, "All groups laugh ‘ha-ha-ha’ basically the same way." Speak French, Mandarin or English, he added, and you’ll still understand laughter. He said there is a pattern generator in our brain that produces this sound.

And, as you can attest from your own experience, hearing other people laugh makes you laugh more readily. British publication The Telegraph reported on the work of Dr. Disa Sauter, who tested Himba and English participants. Dr. Sauter said, "Tickling makes everyone laugh, and not just humans. We see this happen in other primates, such as chimpanzees, as well as other mammals." Dr. Sauter suggested that laughter has deep evolutionary roots, possibly originating as part of playful communications between infants and mothers. Read More.


Laughter is Contagious


"Since 1950, TV has exploited this by adding ‘laugh tracks’ to sitcoms. Babies begin to laugh at about 4 months of age; babies who are born blind and deaf can life, so the ability to see or hear is not required for laughter."
(Neuroscience for Kids, 'The Science of Laughter', http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/scilaugh.html)

Recently, a group of blind students in India was taken to the movies, many for the first time. There, they experience the benefits of auditory exposure to laughter. Watch the video here. Dr. Madan Kataria pointed out that "laughter doesn’t solve your problems, but makes it so you can think better.

Dr. Barbara L. Fredrickson agrees. She feels positive emotions expand our perspective and ability to problem solve. Hear more.

Martin Seligman, PhD. and Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania says, "The aim of Positive Psychology is to catalyze a change in psychology from a preoccupation with only repairing the worst things in life to also build the best qualities in life."

Patty Wooten, a nurse of 30 years who is a public speaker, nurse humorist, nurse retention specialist and compassionate clown, uses humor to help her patients. In her article, "Humor An Antidote For Stress", published in Holistic Nursing Practice, Wooten points out that "humor and laughter can be effective self-care tools to cope with stress." While improving the function of the body, mind and spirit, the ability to laugh at one’s situation also grants a "feeling of superiority and power." She notes that humor and laughter fosters a positive and hopeful attitude, leaving a person less likely to succumb to depression and helplessness. Humor gives us a sense of perspective, and laughing provides an emotional release for the uncomfortable emotions which, if held inside, could create harmful biochemical changes.


Laugh More


Read funny books and stories, watch comedic movies, visit humor website. Tell jokes with your friends. If you are caregiving, consciously change your behavior to bring more laughter and cheer to your work settings. You can find laughter training courses to help you along the way.

But no matter what...laugh. Laugh hard and long. It will be your own best medicine.


A Simple Change in Perspective Can Heal the World