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WHY IT WORKS

(Stories & Science)

Laughter makes us feel better. We know this intuitively, but science is starting to reveal how it works, and why it is important for changing the way we interact and how it helps all people feel less isolated.

Yes, Make Coronavirus Jokes. Humor helps us take back control and connect—two things we have lost in our fight against the pandemic. (The Atlantic, April 2020)

Tasteful humor is a key to success at work, but there’s a good chance your co-workers aren’t cracking jokes or packaging information with wit on a regular basis–and your office could probably stand to have a little more fun. (Forbes, May 2013)

According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter activates and relieves your stress response and can stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation. (Mayo Clinic, April 2016)

Laughter releases endorphins, hormones that can promote social bonding and encourage communal activities. (Medical News Today, June 2017)


Incorporating comedy into how we interact with people with dementia is not as implausible as it might seem. How we work with and treat people with dementia is changing all the time:

Some research groups are studying how the usage of nostalgic environments may soothe patients in long-term care facilities. The work of one popular method has “much in common with improv comedy, following the same rules: Never say no to the reality you’re given; say ‘Yes, and,’ building on whatever the other person said; don’t ask questions.” (The New Yorker, October 2018).

The novel coronavirus has been a boon for the growing work-from-home trend, making millions of people into remote workers almost overnight as companies seek to continue operations amid the global pandemic. But while that’s saving certain industries from certain doom, it may not be a positive move for workers and productivity. (Vox, March 2020)

An interesting pilot study from Canada demonstrated that “elder clowning” can reduce moderate to severe behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (Toronto CityNews, March 2016)