Laughter and crying are closely linked from a psychological and physiological standpoint. Think of the last time someone told you a joke that made you buckle up with laughter and you could hardly control yourself. How did you feel afterwards? You felt a tingling sensation all over, right? Your brain released endorphins into your system that gave you what was once described as a ‘natural high’ and is the same experience that drug addicts get when they take dope.
People who have trouble with laughing at the tough things in life often turn to drugs and alcohol to achieve the same feeling that endorphin-induced laughter produces. Alcohol loosens inhibitions and lets people laugh more, which releases endorphins. This is why most well-adjusted people laugh more when they drink alcohol, while unhappy people become even more despondent or even violent.
People drink alcohol and take drugs to try to feel how happy people feel normally.
Dr. Paul Ekman found that one of the reasons we are attracted to smiling and laughing faces is because they can actually affect our autonomic nervous system. We smile when we see a smiling face and this releases endorphins into our system. If you are surrounded by miserable, unhappy people you are also likely to mirror their expressions and become morose or depressed.
Working in an unhappy environment is detrimental to your health.
Source: “Laughing Till You Cry,” from The Definite Book of Body Language, by Allan and Barbara Pease
Photo by Gregory Gill