Happy hour: The mechanics of how laughter can boost your mood
Everyday activities that boost your happiness.
This week: Laugh more
IT'S well known that laughing can make us feel good – that's because it triggers the release of mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2017.
"There are three possible mechanisms that might all be involved," explains Professor Robin Dunbar, a psychologist at Oxford University and one of the authors.
Laughter may cause the skin over the chest wall to move, causing neurons in the hair follicles to trigger endorphin release. The inner ear is full of these neurons, which may be stimulated as our head moves. Lastly, emptying the lungs as we laugh can activate the endorphin system.
To maximise endorphin release you need to experience a proper belly laugh – when possible, watch a comedy with friends or, given Covid restrictions, family.
"You're between five to 30 times more likely to laugh at a comedy video if you're watching it with others," says Prof Dunbar.
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