Written by: Delaney Harris
Editor’s note: The following article is written by a counseling graduate student in partnership with Counseling Services and the Southern Accent.
Laughter is universal. Author David Robinson said regardless of language, culture and religion, laughter is something we all seem to have in common worldwide. Robinson even cites research on laughter among other mammals such as elephants, monkeys, dogs and more. Laughter, or the rhythm of laughter, seems to exist in places beyond just the human experience.
Laughter has been shown to aid in many different mental battles, including depression and overall quality of life, according to researcher Daniel Bressington. An article by Balbinder Kumar and Swaran Lata states that laughter has even been suggested in aiding with the mental battle against COVID-19.
There is science behind laughter and its effects on the human body. Charmaine Liebertz discusses this science in an article titled “A Healthy Laugh” found in Scientific American Mind. Liebertz discusses that when laughter occurs, the pituitary gland releases a natural drug that suppresses pain. Additionally, laughter increases an individual’s immunity levels, creating a healthier and more functional immune system. Antibodies rise, anticarcinogenic responses are accelerated and hypertension and heart failure risk is decreased. All this and so much more, results from a good laugh.
While laughter in and of itself cannot solve a problem, it can aid the subject combating the problem and reduce the tension around an issue. It can also lead to a healthier and happier quality of life, as discussed above. That begs the question, what can we do to increase our laughter experience here on campus?
In our history here at Southern Adventist University, there have been a lot of efforts made toward creating laughter on campus. From hosting events such as the historic and retired comedy show Studio 4109 LIVE!, providing puppy petting in the first year experience offices, Student Association’s famous Smile Initiative and so much more, we as students and faculty at Southern are constantly trying to create a laughter-filled environment.
In addition to these campus initiatives, you can also aid in increasing your experiences of laughter. One way to begin the journey is by taking advantage of the services provided by our campus in promoting laughter.
When you see an event published that might bring a smile to your face or chuckle to your chest, participate. Make time for these events knowing that it might aid in your mental health journey.
Another way might be to allow yourself to watch a funny YouTube video or TV show before bed and after a stressful day, or maybe calling an old friend or relative who you can catch up with and have a lighthearted discussion with, releasing those much-needed illness fighting chemicals into your system.
Laughter is such a useful tool for increasing quality of life and mental health. Take action today and start with a good laugh.