Laughter Helps Relieve Stress

A research team at the University of Basel has released new research findings that suggest that individuals who more frequently laugh in their everyday lives are better at beating stress more efficiently, particularly during stressful events. However, the intensity of the laughter has nothing to do with combating the stress, as even a smile can relieve the stress instead of a giant intensified laughter, says the study published in PLOS ONE. 

It is believed scientifically that people typically laugh 18 times a day, typically at the time of interacting with the other people, depending on the degree of pleasure they experience. Scientists reveal in the study that they have reported differences in the effect of laughing related to time of day, age, and gender. For instance, it is well known that commonly, on average, women smile more than men. Now, researchers from the Division of Clinical Psychology and Epidemiology of the Department of Psychology at the University of Basel have now conducted a study, investigating the relationship between stressful events and laughter in terms of perceived stress in everyday life.

Source: Precision Nutrition

The current study was conducted over a period of three months from March to May 2018, is based on an intensive prospective longitudinal study design using the Experience Sampling Method. The study data was gathered from the university students in their real-life settings. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Department of Psychology of the University of Basel and all the participants gave written informed consent prior to participation. The newly published research findings were based on the data retrieved from 41 psychology students, 33 of whom were women, with an average age of under 22.

The data gathered through an acoustic signal from a mobile phone app encouraged the recruiters to answer the questions, they have been asked eight times a day at irregular intervals for a period of 14 days. The questions asked in the study were related to the frequency and intensity of laughter and the reason for laughing, along with any stressful events or stress symptoms experienced in the time since the last signal.

While using these methodologies,  the scientists worked with the leading authors, Dr. Thea Zander-Schellenberg and Dr. Isabella Collins, and they were able to extensively elucidate the relationships between laughter, stressful events, and physical and psychological symptoms of stress as part of everyday life. The common stresses include “I had a headache,” or “I felt restless”, etc.

The results of the study implicate that in phases in which the subjects laughed frequently, stressful events were associated with more minor symptoms of subjective stress. The study reveals an was unexpected finding, the interplay between stressful events and intensity of laughter (strong, medium or weak), study found no statistical correlation with stress symptoms.

“This could be because people are better at estimating the frequency of their laughter, rather than its intensity, over the last few hours,” says the lead author.

Source: Cognitive Sciences

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