All About Laughter

Laughter serves a weighty purpose. More than a side-effect of mirth, it acts as a sophisticated social signaling system, helping people bond and even negotiate. Consider this: Most social laughter does not result from any obvious joke.

Yukking it up also has numerous health benefits: It lowers anxiety, boosts the immune system, and aids circulation. These contagious convulsions are anything but frivolous.

Recent posts on Laughter

Leslie Jones Is a Movie Star Who Makes Me Laugh and Cry

The more diversity of characters and actors we see on our stages and screens, the more opportunities we can create for identification and empathy between one another.

Pokémon Go—Addiction to Mobile Tech No Laughing Matter

By Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH, Brian L. Odlaug, PhD, MPH, and Samuel R. Chamberlain, MD, PhD on July 19, 2016 in Why Can't I Stop?
Research shows that those with a behavioral addiction—including gaming addiction—have similar brain dysfunction to those with cocaine or gambling addiction.

What to Do When Your Partner Just Won't Open Up

We want and expect our romantic partners to be completely open. These are the four mistakes you need to avoid when they fall short.

Laughing After Divorce

Divorce is common and results in difficult feelings and experiences. A new study explores the role of humor after divorce.

How Does Culture Affect Our Happiness?

Culture shapes what happiness means to us and how we pursue it.

The Unconditional Love of Chonda Pierce

On the one hand, Pierce, the “Queen of Clean,” makes a successful living from laughter. On the other hand, Pierce has lived through years of tremendous sadness and tragedy...

Is Joy Communal?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on May 18, 2016 in The Human Beast
The epidemic of depression that emerged with urbanization in the US is often attributed to loneliness in large cities. Perhaps it is also due to less opportunities to express joy.

The Caregiver's Manifesto

How many patients have I known over the years who've found themselves caught in the quicksand that is caring for a chronically ill loved one? Too many to count, so I'll recount

How to Have a Fantastic Evening With Your Child

If you think your child gets plenty of attention and she's still acting out, consider that maybe what she needs is a different kind of attention: help with her emotions.

When Depression Visits and Stays

What happens when depression comes and it seems that there is nothing you can do to make it leave? Here is a personal experience of dealing with an unwanted guest – Mr. D.

3 Tools to Dissolve Sibling Jealousy

Since all "misbehavior" is driven by upset feelings or unmet needs, the real work here is helping the child resolve feelings that are triggering his aggression.

Soap Angels from Heaven

By Susan Sparks on April 18, 2016 in Laugh Your Way to Well-Being
Your smile is still there! Remind yourself of your capacity for joy.

Are Comedians More Depressed?

Is depression a necessity to be funny? After Robin Williams’ suicide, we learned the line between comedy and tragedy is blurry. Here is how one comedienne handled her depression.

Why We Laugh at Others on April Fool's Day

By Paul Dolan Ph.D. on April 01, 2016 in Happiness by Design
Why does laughing at the expense of others bring us so much pleasure and what does it say about our human nature? Here are some key explanations.

The Joy of Chaos

By Bernard L. De Koven on March 30, 2016 in On Having Fun
Such is the human spirit that when everybody loses and we "all fall down"—it makes us laugh.

20 Rules for You to Live By

10. Power is the ability to persuade stupid people to do intelligent things and intelligent people to do stupid things. This is why power is dangerous.

Can Laughter Be an Antibiotic for Pain?

Have you ever had a horrible day? A day that’s so horrible it’s funny? What is it exactly that turns life’s problems into punch lines?
Al Loyd (CC BY 2.0)

Why We Love Virtue

By Blaine Fowers Ph.D. on February 23, 2016 in Questions of Character
What's to love about virtue?

Who Wipes Who? Life After Depends

By Eliezer Sobel on February 08, 2016 in The 99th Monkey
Although I knew it wasn’t really the “right” thing to think, I was nevertheless secretly grateful to Alzheimer’s; it had allowed for the healing of my relationship with my mother.

Laughter Helps Us Learn

By Susan Weinschenk Ph.D. on January 26, 2016 in Brain Wise
Laughter releases neurochemicals in the brain that help you learn -- even toddlers learn more when they laugh.

Healthy, Relaxing Things to Do on a Snow Day

By Linda Wasmer Andrews on January 22, 2016 in Minding the Body
You could spend your snow day doing laundry … but don’t. Here are eight more relaxing, satisfying ways to ride out a snowstorm.

Re-setting Your Happiness Set Point Part 2

What practices can raise your set point for happiness?

Three Reasons to Celebrate Global Belly Laugh Day Jan. 24

Belly laughs heal and strengthen. A wave of laughter will circle the world on Jan 24. Here's how to join, and get permanent benefits from making space in your life for laughs.

Advice to Isis (Brown)

By Izzy Kalman on January 15, 2016 in Resilience to Bullying
Isis Brown's viral video pleads for help for kids who get made fun of because they share a name with the world's most despised terror group. Here is the timeless solution.

How to Have The Best Birthday Ever: Celebrate Your REAL Age

Birthdays as a reward for having shown up 365 days in a row. It's like getting a badge for attendance.

Re-setting Your Happiness Set Point: Part 1

“The purpose of life is to be happy” - His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Inter-generational Games Night

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on January 02, 2016 in Moral Landscapes
Just imagine playing board games, cards, and hanging out with seniors, neighbors, children, preteens, teens, and other adults. This scene is something that can happen anywhere in A

Good Times in the New Year

By Marty Babits on December 30, 2015 in The Middle Ground
Good Things in the New Year

Why Close a Street to Play as a Community?

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on December 28, 2015 in Moral Landscapes
Did you play in the streets when you were a kid? I sure did. Here is how you can make it happen again--as an adult.

Pushing Play in the Community

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on December 26, 2015 in Moral Landscapes
The people of Takoma Park work together to make sure it’s a safe place for children to play, reports a 16-year-old player-observer.