The Power of Laughter

When Psychology Changes Your Physiology

By Jasmine Aguayo

Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

Whether you giggle, chuckle, or guffaw, laughter feels good. Yet, its effect on the body is more significant than the euphoria we experience. Adding extra laughter to your days leads to a healthier heart and a longer life. It can reduce stress, strengthen your immune system, and prevent cardiovascular disease. Even though there are psychological benefits to faking it, not all laughter is powerful on a physiological level.

Types of Laughter

According to the Society of Neurosciences, laughter can be analyzed through its three distinct parts: emotional, motor, and cognitive. Not every laugh contains each one. The reason we laugh will influence which ones are triggered. [Kirsch. pg 563]

There are two main types of laughter based on brain activity and facial expression. The Duchenne laugh is characterized by identifying the presence of the Duchenne smile.

The Duchenne Smile

The main factor distinguishing a laugh is the Duchenne smile, characterized by the crinkle and glimmer in the eyes.