Top Ten Reasons We Should Learn to Laugh a Whole Lot More

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John G. Carlson, PhD

1. Laughter causes deep muscle relaxation. If you have ever laughed so hard that you've wet your pants, you know what I am talking about.

2. Laughter reduces stress. In addition to our bodies physically relaxing, we may forget our troubles, even if only temporarily.

3. Laughter has health benefits. When we laugh, our blood pressure and pulse rates drop slightly, endorphins (chemicals that sup-press pain and help you to feel better) are released into our bodies, and T-cells (key fighters in our immune systems) increase.

4. Laughter is a universal language. Laughter is a unique human phenomenon that happens in every culture. It helps us to go beyond our cultural differences by emphasizing what we have in common.

5. Laughter promotes creativity and is conducive to learning. Chances are good that students will learn more from teachers who use laughter and humor, people who are able to laugh at themselves. Laughter breaks up the routine and can illustrate points. It also helps us to see life from a different perspective.

6. Laughter promotes communication. Think of laughter as a social lubricant. It connects, bonds, and builds rapport.

7. Laughter is an expression of auction. It's a way to love people by helping them to smile, laugh, experience a sense of connectedness, and feel better about themselves and about life.

8. Laughter is a reinforcer. Laughter can motivate and energize people.

9. Laughter is a coping mechanism. Laughter can help us to get through the tough times. As Bill Cosby says, "If you can find laughter in anything, you can survive it."

10. Laughter increases our rapport with others. This has professional implications. Compliance increases when we have established rapport with someone. For example, salespeople sell more, patients tend to comply more with health regimens, and students work harder in class.

Adopted in part from Stephen Saffron on How to Teach a Humor and Play Class.

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