Healthline Connects
Healthline Connects

In Pain? Laugh About It

Research shows that people who laugh more can better tolerate pain.

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a man laughingHave a good laugh.

If you’re having a bad day, have a really good long laugh. If you’re in pain, have an even longer one. 

Laughter releases endorphins, these awesome chemicals in our brains that give us that warm and tingly feeling in our bodies.

That feeling can also reduce the amount of physical pain we experience, according to a recent study from the University of Oxford. Researchers tested people’s pain tolerance before and after watching some funny videos and found that those who laughed the most could withstand more pain than those who laughed least.

While the study is new, the practice is not. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, surgeons used laughter as an anesthetic from pain as early as the 13th century.

Other research has shown that laughter not only reduces pain, but it can reduce stress, boost the immune system, increase oxygen intake, relax muscles, ease digestion problems, and improve your brain health. All of those things are pretty important. In essence, laughter keeps you healthy.

But if you find yourself plagued by problems, laughter may seem hard to come by. Things may not seem as funny if you’re in pain, but that’s when you need it the most.

Laughing about your problems is the easiest way to disarm them. If you can make fun of something, it’s less of a problem. Money and love are two of the most common sources of problems for us all. Each one of us deals with some sort of turmoil about the two on a regular basis. That’s why it’s so important to laugh about them. 

Some of the greatest comedians have used societies woes to get a laugh. Greats like George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and now Louis C.K. have taken the difficult parts of their own lives and made jokes about them. It’s therapeutic for them—and for us. You don’t have to get on stage to get a laugh, but you can take your troubles and use them as fodder for an inside joke.

The humor—no matter how juvenile—could be the key to feeling better quickly. If you can learn to laugh at yourself and your mistakes, you’ll be a never-ending supply of good health for yourself.  

The beautiful part is that the more you laugh, the more infectious your laughter will be for others. Not only will you make yourself feel better, but you’ll be freely dispensing better health to all of those around you.

Before you know it, you’ll go from a patient to a doctor. How cool is that?

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Tags: Latest Studies & Research

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About the Author

Brian Krans is an Assistant Editor and writer at Healthline.com.

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