Laughter really is the best medicine so let’s get into the April Fool’s Day spirit and share a laugh with your loved ones this week.

Laughter really is the best medicine

April Fool’s Day is coming up and it’s always fun to make someone else laugh! As long as the prank is harmless and doesn’t hurt anyone, go for it this April Fool’s Day. April Fool’s Day has been celebrated for centuries, however, it is not celebrated in the same way that is used to be. In today’s day and age, we prank people through phone calls, placing toothpaste between an Oreo, or covering an entire room with sticky notes. While these pranks are harmless, in the past they were more intense and, at times, hostile. Pranks were played on friends as well as enemies. Here are a few pranks that were played throughout history on April 1st over the centuries.

  • 1749 Prankster in a Bottle: This prank occurred in London, where there was an ad placed in the newspaper claiming that during an upcoming show a man would squeeze his entire body into a typical wine bottle and then sing a song while inside of it. People were amazed and curious over how this could be possible and come the night of the show the entire theatre was filled, anxiously waiting to figure out how an average sized man is going to fit into an average sized wine bottle let alone sing in it. The people waited and waited and when the magical wine bottle man never showed up to do his trick, the audience’s amazement turned to anger. They were unhappy with his no-show prank and the price they paid to see it happen, or not happen. In fact, they began to riot immediately after.
  • 1957 BBC News Spaghetti Harvest: This is one of history’s most famous April Fool’s Day prank yet. On April 1, 1957 a news broadcaster proceeded to air a story on how a Swiss region, on the border of Italy, had a very heavy spaghetti crop harvest. The broadcaster then showed a clip of people picking spaghetti off trees and siting down to eat their freshly “grown” pasta. This news broad was aired out of Britain. At the time, British people weren’t very aware of pasta. A mix of feedback came back to the news station; some were mad at the silly prank on a serious channel, while others actually called the station to figure out where they could buy such a plant.
  • 1989 Virgin Airline UFO: The founder of Virgin airlines, Richard Branson, loves April Fool’s Day. He loves it so much that he planned out this elaborate prank to play on the residents of London. One resident claimed to have seen a flying saucer land in a nearby field. With the community in a panic, police rushed to the scene to actually find what appeared to be a silver flying saucer. However, what the police didn’t expect was for there to be two “aliens” inside of this saucer. Come to find out the “aliens” were just Branson and his friend, and his “flying saucer” was just a disguised hot air balloon.

Laughter is so important for us, whether we play a silly April Fool’s Prank, have a comedic moment with friends and family, or just find it in our heart to laugh at ourselves. We have to realize that it is okay to laugh at ourselves and that life was meant to be not taken too seriously. Laughing does wonders to our health. Not only does it put us in a better mood, it benefits us physically as well. The old cliche is true- laughter is the best medicine. Below are some of the common health benefits of laughter.

  1. Releases endorphins: Endorphins are chemicals produced by the body that alleviates pain, reduces stress and increases our sense of happiness. They are also responsible for that “euphoric” feeling. By increasing the levels of endorphins in our system, we are increasing our threshold for pain. Endorphins are released during exercise and during extended bouts of laughter.
  2. Creates social bonds: Laughing is contagious and people love to laugh with each other. We gather together as friends and families and share some of the best memories over laughter. In fact, laughter brings us closer together. It helps us feel more connected to the person or persons. We form strong bonds with the people that we can laugh with and we feel more comfortable with those people. Humor is a powerful way to connect with new people, build strong bonds, ease uneasy tensions or disagreements, and overall just have a good time.
  3. Improves brain function: Laughter does a lot for our brain, actually, our brain does a lot of work for laughter. The processes that our brain makes after hearing a joke is incredible. We hear a joke and that joke is sent to the frontal lobe of our brain where our brain decides if we “get” the joke or not. Once it decides, the answer is sent over to our cerebral cortex where we decide how to respond with laugher or to express confusion. However, we are not aware of this process; when a joke is told to us we just react, we don’t think about our lobes and cortexes of the brain. But by repeating this process, we are actually strengthening its connection. Our brain essentially gets stronger when we find laughter. Some research also shows that laughing may improve memory in older adults.
  4. Is important for relationships: It’s important to share a laugh with the ones we love. By sharing a laugh with them, you are building a strong bond and foundation with that person. So build your relationships by sharing a laugh. Also you can’t be too mad at someone if they make you laugh!
  5. Form of exercise: Laughter is a natural type of exercise. Laughing for extended periods of time causes the diaphragm and stomach muscles to continually expand and contract. This is why our stomachs hurt after a good laugh session. The muscles in our face go through a workout too causing more blood flow to the face. We can’t rely solely on laughing for exercise, but it’s certainly a fun way to burn some calories!
  6. Boosts Immune System: Research shows that laughing improves our ability to fight infection by increasing how well Natural Killer (NK) cells work in our body. NK cells are one of our immune system cells that is the body’s main defense in fighting disease. Positive thoughts can release neuropeptides that improves overall immunity.
  7. Protects your heart: By laughing you are actually improving the function of your blood vessels. As you laugh, your heart rate increases and you take deeper breaths than usual. This causes your blood to have more oxygen in it as it circulates through your body, improving your overall vascular health.

So enjoy yourself this April Fool’s Day and make someone laugh with a harmless prank or joke this Thursday. Try to make others laugh and smile not just on April Fool’s Day, but all year long.

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