Joys of laughter

by Kulsum Musani

It’s not hard to recognize tension during exam weeks at Benedictine University. All of the study rooms in the library are taken, there are no empty tables on the third and fourth floors and professors’ offices are crowded with students trying to understand important concepts at the last minute. But who can complain? After all, it’s all a part of the college experience, yet we all look for ways to relieve ourselves of this stress and tension.

As it turns out, we don’t have to look that far for the cure: laughter.

Laughter may not help you get that hundred percent on a test, but it definitely has its own benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, not only do you unload some of that mental stress when you laugh, but you also stimulate organs in the body such as your heart, lungs, and muscles. That burst of laughter ends up feeling good because your stress response is cooled down and makes you feel relaxed. A good laugh will leave your muscles feeling relaxed for up to 45 minutes.

This might be the reason why we end up laughing at things that might never have made us laugh before. Take for instance the smart student teaching everyone organic chemistry who for some reason cannot draw a cyclohexane (which is just a complicated way of saying hexagon) and the burst of laughter that results from the group soon thereafter. The third floor won’t be the quiet floor anymore because students studying together will find something hilarious.

It can be difficult to laugh when you feel angry or stressed out, but learning how to laugh in these situations helps to reduce anger and its negative effects on the body. Just as how our body has hormones for everything, it also produces stress hormones.

Laughing reduces the production of these stress hormones only to release hormones that make you feel good.

These endorphins numb physical and emotional pain in the sense that they help you feel and see what is getting you so stressed out. They might clear your mind to the point that you can deal with the situation. Things that seem to pose huge problems or difficulties might not be so impossible to solve after all.

So the next time you have a test, don’t panic. Start studying early, but at the same time, spend some time studying with friends that make you smile.

We get so caught up in the petty things that freak us out, and often we do not realize that we are the ones who make our problems as serious as we want them to be. Everything happens for a reason- don’t forget to turn that frown upside down!