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While many of are struggling during Melbourne's lockdown, Director of Student Wellbeing Brett Borbely, considers the invaluable role that laughter plays in helping us cope even as fatigue sets in. 

It is often said “laughter is the best medicine”. This is true because other than simply communicating joy, laughter has both psychological and physical benefits. While Victoria State navigates through this sixth lockdown, these benefits are crucial as feelings of exhaustion and frustration can easily present themselves.

Without knowing what the future holds or how long the transitions between onsite and offsite learning will repeat, some are struggling to find motivation and focus. While these feelings are understandable and normal, all must be proactive in working to keep spirits high, purpose clear and hope afloat. And laughter is one, free and accessible way to support these lofty aspirations.

Research has well documented that laughter and humour have enormous benefits, including psychological, physical and relational advantages.


Humour activates the release of the happiness hormones in the brain, particularly endorphins and serotonin. Endorphins, known as the ‘natural pain killer’, help alleviate feelings of pain and reduce anxiety, and serotonin, known as ‘the mood stabilising hormone’, leads to feelings of psychological safety, belonging, and self-belief.

Due to the psychological advantages of laughter, cackling can also improve learning outcomes “by attracting and sustaining attention, reducing anxiety, enhancing participation and increasing motivation” (Savage et al. 2017). 


Chuckling increases the amount of oxygen one breathes in, which in turn, fuels the heart, lungs and muscles. This process naturally increases and then decreases one’s heart rate and blood pressure, supports muscle relaxation and can help with blood flow and circulation. Thus, both physical and psychological stresses decrease when this happens.

Laughter also activates T-cells within the body, which are specialised cells that support the immune system and help protect the body from foreign particles and guard against illness.


Lastly, laughing is often contagious, and as such, it forms bonds and connections with others. Because of the release of serotonin, uplifting humour gives individuals a sense of belonging and calmness, which strengthen ties between people and further build their relationships. 

Of course, humour that is insensitive or offensive to another person does not have the same benefits, as it often fuels disconnection and increases stress. Therefore, it is necessary to remember that the type of humour and the catalyst for the laughter are crucial aspects to enjoying all of the benefits outlined.

So, while people across the State of Victoria navigate through this lockdown, and any other possible future lockdowns, it is important to remember the benefits of laughter. Watch funny YouTube clips, listen to a favourite comedian, call a friend and be silly together. Do whatever is necessary to keep the laughter going long into the future.