Laughing: Releasing the body’s ‘natural painkiller’

 

TheSkinny: Despite 2020’s “not recommended” one-star rating and overall lack of joy, it’s still OK to laugh, and we’d recommend it; in fact, based on recent studies laughter might be one of the best ways to reduce stress, increase productivity and help boost your immune system.

Heard of “laughter yoga?” Neither had we, but we’re ready to embrace a less serious session on the mat after learning that, over time, laughter can decrease the body’s production of cortisol—an overabundance of which can cause weight gain or memory loss. While decreasing cortisol, hearty laughter can also increase levels of endorphins, the body’s “natural painkillers,” according to the neuroscientist in the above CNN article.

But wait…there’s more. According to the Harvard Business Review, your body also releases dopamine, which is associated with “enhanced motivation and attention.” However, with social distancing and quarantine, some of us are laughing less than the average 18 times a day.

  • Quick fix, for social media scrollers: If you’re not following comedy writer Jordan Firstman yet, stop what you’re doing, click here and watch one of his insta-famous “impressions” (such as: a mirror in therapy, an iPhone charger not made by Apple, a Gen Z guided meditation, or…dirty dishes).
  • For the happily couchbound: You can’t beat a well-curated list when trying to research new shows. We’ve done the work for you with these lists of the 30 best comedies on Hulu and Netflix.
  • Must-watch IGTV: Want to feel like you’re hanging out with some of the funniest and most interesting comics/actors/musicians around? Our friend Seth Herzog has been hosting Instagram live shows with his funniest BFFs on Tuesdays and Fridays. We’d recommend tuning in live, since the comments are obviously wittier than most, but all the sessions are available after-the-fact as well. Three to watch: Taran KillamGreg Barris, and Melissa Villaseñor.
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