How Laughter Helps in Schools and Education
When kids enter upper school and college, sometimes the fun of learning gives way to stress. Teaching your preteen, teen, or college-age student to use laughter to relieve their stress is a valuable gift you can give them.
I meet college students regularly. And in most instances, something hilarious always happens. Part of being an adolescent is seeking fun and laughing at oneself. Researchers have found that adolescents behave in this manner to deal with stress. High school educators and college professors have shared their funny moments with college students on Zoom:
- A learner used their computer screens and webcam as a mirror to floss their teeth
- A student was cutting down trees with his dad as he reviewed a test
Is it a good time for laughter?
You might be wondering whether now is the best time to laugh when we are trying to recover from the pandemic and keep ourselves safe. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 68 percent of parents are concerned about their children falling behind in school due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Others are worried about their kids being exposed to this virus at school.
When we are stressed out, the brain stimulates several hormones that place us in flight or fight mode. When we are afraid, emotions tend to take over the decision-making process. Students end up failing due to poor concentration and fatigue. Laughter is one of the best antidotes to chronic stress. As King Solomon said, laughter [even in a learning environment] does good like medicine. Humor can relieve strain linked to monotonous learning and help your child achieve their academic goals.
Surprising benefits of laughter
Laughter is one of the best medicines in the world. The best part is, you don’t have to pay a dime to enjoy its benefits. Research studies have shown that laughter has lots of health benefits ranging from bringing happiness, to relieving pain and boosting immunity. Unfortunately, most older kids and adults don’t laugh as much as they should. One study found that children laugh as much as 400 times a day while adults laugh only 15 times a day. Here are some of the main benefits of laughter:
- Relieves pain
Laughter stimulates the release of endorphins. And this hormone has been reported to increase pain tolerance. A study had participants watch a comedy show for fifteen minutes. And their pain tolerance increased by more than 10 percent.
- Reduces stress
When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol. This hormone plays an important role in the body. It helps in the management of blood sugar levels, anger, boosts metabolism, reduces inflammation, and triggers the flight or fight mode at critical times. However, too much cortisol is not good for you. Laughter is one of the best ways to regulate cortisol. It increases the intake of oxygen and stimulates blood circulation. And this decreases cortisol levels. Various studies have shown that the act of laughing even without humor can have positive effects on the body. It is easy to see how laughter in a learning environment can be beneficial.
- Relaxes the body
When you are stressed, muscles contract. Laughing relieves stress by relaxing muscles. A genuine laugh can help your muscles relax for as long as 45 minutes since it stimulates blood circulation.
- Promotes relationships
Laughter keeps us connected with others. Similar to kindness and smiling, laughter is contagious. Therefore, if you laugh more, you will help others to laugh more. And they’ll get to enjoy these benefits too. When you elevate the mood of the people around you, you will reduce your stress levels and improve the quality of your interactions with them. And this will reduce your stress level further.
Tips to get more laughter in life
Laughter is one of the best stress management techniques because it is free of charge, beneficial, and convenient. You can get more laughter in your life using the following tips:
- Meet with friends regularly
Going to a comedy club or movie with your friends is one of the best ways to get more laughter in life. You’ll experience the contagious effects of laughter and have jokes to refer to in the future. Having friends over for a game night or party is also one of the best ways to experience positive emotions. While studying is a huge priority, you and your child need to make time for fun to relax and promote your mental health. Learning with laughter comes quite naturally in many environments other than school!
- Find humor in life
College life and high school are not easy. (And neither is parenting!) You have to attend all classes, work on every assignment, participate in school projects and prepare for exams. Instead of focusing on the frustrations that you have in your life, try to laugh at them. Finding humor in the most frustrating or depressing conditions will help you feel better about yourself and make the right decisions. Imagine how you’ll tell your friends about the situation that you are currently going through. And see if you can find the laughter in it — and help your kids learn to do it as well! When you cultivate this attitude, you’ll feel lighthearted and give your loved ones something to laugh about. When you find humor in your life, you’ll be less stressed by negative events.
- Fake it till you make it
Various research studies have shown that individuals can enjoy the benefits of smiling regardless of whether it’s real or fake. Fake laughter provides most of the benefits that we’ve mentioned here. Our bodies cannot distinguish between a real or fake laugh. The benefits are the same. And in most instances, fake laughter usually leads to real laughter.
There is no shortage of laughing opportunities in the entertainment sector. You can easily stream movies using your computer or smartphone in the comfort of your home. Watching a hilarious TV show or movie is one of the best ways to get laughter in life (and maybe learn a life lesson or two!) when you need it. Sharing your recommendations with family members and friends will give you something to laugh about in the future.
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- Laughter yoga
Most people think yoga is all about balancing the body in several challenging poses. However, this is not the case when it comes to laughter yoga. This type of yoga is aimed at bringing out the child in you and helping you laugh without a reason. You can get involved in laughter yoga by meeting with your friends, your dad, or co-workers and getting them laughing. You can also try online laughter yoga.
Laughter improves your physical and mental health. It also helps you make new friends and build your social circle. Do you remember how you used to laugh when you were a kid? No rule says that adults can’t laugh just as much as kids. Set a goal to bring out your inner child regularly. And help your budding high school and college student bring out their inner child, too! You’ll never regret it.
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Dennis Lodge is a freelance journalist, blogger, and copywriter who writes unique and research-based content about education, parenting, and children’s mental and physical health at My-assignment.help and Superiorpapers. He is the father of three children.