The Happy Wellness Room
Have you forgotten how to laugh? Try some of these:
Tickle books are collections of funny things that will brighten your mood
Watch animal videos
Read joke books
Laughter is as vital to wellness as food and water. Why is laughter so important? It relaxes the body, boosts the immune system, protects the heart, and may help you live longer, according to Robinson, et al. (2023). Additional benefits of laughter and humor may include less anger, frustration, and hatred in the world. The American Physiological Society (2008) summarized a study that found the anticipation of laughter "reduced the levels of… cortisol, epinephrine, and dopac, a dopamine catabolite (para. 3) and releases dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins, which "enhance learning, motivation, and attention (The neuroscience of laughter). Laughter can have a calming effect on the physical as well as the emotional and mental areas of our lives, which helps the learning process. Savage, et al. (2017) also claim therapeutic benefits of humor and laughter, plus mentioned humor and laughter helped to "[create] an environment that promotes learning” (p. 341, para. 5). Additionally, the authors claim, “humor, laughter, learning, and health have a long and successful, interwoven legacy that has persisted for centuries and played an important role in human culture since the beginning of recorded time” (p. 341, para. 6). Laughter, learning, health, and humor play an important role in our culture.
Jaak Panksepp was a renowned neuroscientist and psychobiologist who introduced “Affective Neuroscience, in which he detailed the neurology, neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, and functions of the emotional brain” (Eberle, 2019, para. 2). During his studies, he discovered “optimal brain development depends on healthy play experiences in early life… Panksepp believed that PLAY was the most complex of the positive emotions” (as cited in Eberle, 2019, p. 408). Physical, emotionally involved time spent with others of the same species is an essential part of mental and emotional health, and it also benefits the physical aspect of a person. This is further illustrated by the quote, “we put ourselves in social and emotional peril when we ignore the ancient impulse to play” (Eberle, 2019, para 10). We need to make time to play; the ability to laugh and play, and the desire to, align with the holistic model of wellness.