April is National Humor Month: What is the Point of Laughter?

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on April 7, 2014

What is the Value of Laughter?This April marks not only the 38th Annual National Humor Month, but also Stress Awareness Month. Coincidence? Probably. But in 1976, comedian and author Larry Wilde, Director of The Carmel Institute of Humor, dedicated the fourth month of every year to spreading awareness for the many benefits of laughter – one of which being its ability to significantly reduce stress.

In support of National Humor Month, the legal team at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. in Seattle would like to highlight the following facts about humor and laughter. Remember, it’s okay to take time out of your day to enjoy a funny TV show or to spend time with friends – you’ll be doing it for your health.

Social Benefits

At its core, humor is a great tool for promoting social bonding as it helps reinforce group identity, increases friendliness, and encourages communication. Laughter is not unlike a bird tweeting or a dog barking because it functions as a social signal. When a group of people find themselves laughing at the same joke or funny incident, it helps create a sense of togetherness. Ever wonder why laughing is contagious? It’s because positive emotions and sounds trigger a natural instinct to mirror others’ behaviors, which helps us interact and build stronger relationship bonds.

Health Benefits

Laughter can also be a rather physical activity that begins at the gut level and reaches the whole body if it becomes stronger and more uncontrollable. With a hearty laugh, a person will experience increased blood flow, a rush of endorphins (the chemicals associated with happiness), relaxation, and a strengthened immune system. It has also been found that this increase in endorphins helps relieve pain and lower blood pressure. So, essentially, more laughter equals decreased stress and better health.

Mental Benefits

It may be a no-brainer that laughter is great at improving your mood, but did you know that laughter can change the way you think? Experiencing less stress and a social connection with others will help you keep a more positive perspective in situations that may otherwise feel daunting or unmanageable. Laughter or even simply smiling can have a huge impact on your overall mental health by encouraging stronger emotional bonds with friends and family, which can translate into better self-confidence, courage, and resilience.

When times get tough, humor helps strengthen people by bringing them closer together and easing stress and anxiety. Stop by the Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. Facebook page to share some humor or ways that you like to bring laughter into your everyday life.

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