Better laugh real than fake

March 18, 2023 / Topical / Background

'Laughter is healthy' is the expression for a reason. If your brain registers a good joke, hilarious cat video or a funny situation, then that is the starting signal for the production of the happiness hormones endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. At the same time, a good laugh reduces the production of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Both processes ensure that laughter gives you a good feeling. But what if your job requires you to laugh a lot out of courtesy? And what is the relationship with drinking alcohol?

Laughing is healthy. It helps you relax and makes you more mentally resilient. At least, when it comes to a genuine smile. Alicia Grandey, a professor of psychology at Penn State University in America, came to the conclusion, following her research in 2019, that people who often have to show fake emotions for their work are more at risk of developing stress outside working hours - or burnout complaints and absenteeism. There are also more heavy drinkers among this group of people. In an interview with ABC News, Professor Grandey said: “Having to suppress negative emotions or mimic happy emotions at work can make people more likely to turn to alcohol outside of it. This not only has to do with the 'washing away' of repressed, negative emotions, but also because people who have to control their emotions during their work have 'used up' all their self-control at the end of the day. As a result, they are more inclined to release all brakes after work has ended. Even when it comes to drinking alcohol.”

Not all occupational groups are equally at risk. These are mainly professions in which people have many short, superficial contacts with others. Perhaps you yourself have experienced that you had to hold back your emotions at work. Now adjusting your emotions a bit because of social desirability is not such a disaster. However, do you feel that you are not in control of your own smile at work and do you feel the need to compensate for this outside working hours, for example by drinking alcohol to relax? Then the healthy conclusion can be to take a closer look at work in which you can be more yourself. Source:

What also helps: great colleagues with whom you have a good relationship and with whom you can laugh very hard on a regular basis. Do you want to read more about keep smiling, also during IkPas? Then read 'Laughter is really healthy


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