Laughter


The best medicine

“Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain.” – Charlie Chaplin 

You know what it’s like when you have one of those huge, spontaneous belly laughs with your friends. Something was said, a joke was told or you all saw something ridiculous. There’s nothing like it. You snort, you chortle, your eyes water, you gasp for breath, your belly starts to hurt and, when you look at each other, you laugh some more. When you finally do stop, you feel euphoric. Everything seems better, you feel happier and you can’t wait to do it again.

When you’re in pain, laughing is probably the last thing you feel like doing. But did you know that laughter can actually help you deal with your pain? A good joke, a funny movie or just seeing something silly can all distract you from your pain and make you feel better, at least for a while.

Laughter causes a variety of chemical responses in your body. The ‘feel good’ hormones – endorphins, serotonin and dopamine – are released into your bloodstream. They boost your mood and make you feel more positive. Endorphins are your body’s natural pain reliever. Releasing them into the body reduces your feelings of pain. Laughter can also help boost your immune system. And, let’s face it, it’s just a lot of fun!

So next time your pain is getting you down, why not give laughter a go?

Things to try

  • watch cat/dog/panda videos on YouTube (you know the ones you see pop up on social media regularly!)
  • watch a funny DVD or TV show
  • listen to a funny podcast
  • talk with a friend and reminisce about a funny experience you had together
  • think about the funniest joke you ever heard
  • join a laughter club or group.

Personal perspectives

I watch old episodes of ‘Friends’. I have them all on DVD so I just put one on when I need it…they’re short, funny and distracting. – Natalie

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Musculoskeletal Australia (or MSK) is the consumer organisation working with, and advocating on behalf of, people with arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, gout and over 150 other musculoskeletal conditions.

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