Planning on checking out a comedy this weekend (it’s not that far away!!) to help get over a hard week? If you’re looking for a laugh to ease your stress, it might not matter if the flick you choose isn’t funny. New research suggests just anticipating laughter can have beneficial stress-busting effects.
In study presented at the121st Annual Meeting of the American Physiological Society, a team of researchers from Loma Linda University in California found that just telling participants they were going to see a funny movie led to a decrease in the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine and dopac. There was no decrease reported among participants in a control group who weren’t told they were going to see a funny movie. The difference was consistent for blood tests taken before, during and after the movie.
“By seeking out positive experiences that make us laugh we can do a lot with our physiology to stay well,” said Lee Berk, the study team’s lead researcher, in a press release.
I take that as permission to start planning my weekend now (for me, dancing is a primo stressbuster and you can bet I’ll be busting a move with the girls this Friday night – think it’s a stretch to say I felt my stress level go down just typing that?). And if you’re looking for more stressbusters, check out our slideshow of research-backed no-fail options. Or sneak out of work early and enjoy the weather… I promise I won’t say a word.