Laughing Out Loud: A Virus and A Cure



Make sure to fit laughing into your busy schedule today!

Jeanelle Wu, Photojournalist

Why do cows have hooves and not feet? Because they lactose! Get it… lack toes? Hopefully, you genuinely found that funny and laughed, but a pity laugh is still much appreciated. When it comes to laughing, it’s not something people even have to think about. It is something that we do on a daily basis, and much like breathing, it is more of an instinct. That is unless your laughter is forced, which you would probably have to force if you heard a bad joke (or perhaps the cringe joke I used about cows). 

Although the coronavirus has taken up most of the virus talk in the past few years, let’s not forget about the virus that has been here way before COVID-19 came around and is definitely more pleasant. Laughing, although not technically a virus (scientifically speaking), it is still extremely contagious, dare I say more contagious than any other disease or virus (it’s definitely bubonic plague level). As a matter of fact, just watching someone laugh can make your brain want to join in ( If you are ever in a social situation where you are laughing and can’t stop, it is probably because social laughter releases opioids in your brain that make laughing feel rewarding ( I don’t know about you, but I would definitely much rather catch a laugh than possibly catch anything else.

There is no cure or vaccine to contagious laughter, but laughing is like a cure within itself. I’m sure you have heard of those cheesy sayings like “laughter is the best medicine in life” or “a laugh a day keeps the doctor away” (if you haven’t now you have). I wouldn’t go as far as saying that laughing a few times a day will keep you from ever getting sick, but there are definitely some proven health benefits. Laughing actually promotes a strong immune system, benefits your lungs and brain, reduces chances of heart attacks, and lowers blood pressure ( Laughter is associated with feelings of happiness, which is why laughing is such a great reliever of stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts. Also, if you ever want to boost your confidence, raise your self-esteem, or get your creative juices flowing, laughing has been shown to help with that ( Another bonus is that you lose calories when you laugh! Just laughing 10-15 minutes a day can burn up to 40 calories (!

I find myself laughing the most when I’m with my friends.

— Nathaniel Jones

Scientists, who have discovered and have been able to figure out some of the most complex things in the universe, are still not 100% sure about all the reasons that we laugh. Nonetheless, laughing has become a universal language that people from all over the world can communicate and understand. Not only does laughter bring people together and help them get along, but the simple “ha ha ha” laughter is what keeps our social relationships together. Attesting to this, Nathaniel Jones (10) states that “I find myself laughing the most when I’m with my friends. I would say that I do a mix of making other people laugh and laughing at random things I find or do.” If you are hesitant that laughter is what keeps social relationships together, think about how long a friendship between you and your friend would last if you never made each other laugh. My guess is not long.