Benefits of laughter on thyroid and Hashimoto’s

When you’re diagnosed with a chronic illness, it usually plays a dominant role in your day-to-day life. Taking medication on time, tracking health habits, planning, worrying. It’s important to have downtime, when you can enjoy and produce more feel-good molecules.

In 1976, Norman Cousins published an account of Adam Smith describing the potential medicinal benefits of laughter in the New England Journal of Medicine (1). Yet science seemed a bit reluctant to accept that there are benefits of laughter therapy, as research was lacking sufficient evidence (2).

However, laughter has been proven to help alleviate health issues by (3, 4):

  1. Aiding in heart-related problems by counteracting stress-induced constriction of blood vessels that cause high blood pressure
  2. Modifying the activity of your immune system
  3. Decreasing stress-induced hormones adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), cortisol, and adrenaline

Recent research has shown that the more spontaneous laughter you experience, the less pain you feel — this is due to the endorphin activity (5). Laughter, through endorphins, creates euphoric states too (5).

Laughing and thyroid function

There is a correlation between TSH and cortisol levels (6).

One study suggests Hashimoto’s patients have increased cortisol levels because a damaged thyroid releases certain molecules — immunoreactive adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) — which induce the hyperproduction of cortisol (7).

Severe or chronic stress is known to trigger the onset or exacerbation of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (8).

Serotonin — aka happiness hormone, as it regulates mood and prevents depression — is connected to a hypothyroid state. In a hypothyroid state your body is less responsive to serotonin.

Serotonin activity is restored by taking medication on time, leading to a restoration of balanced levels of TSH, T4, and T3 (9).

Laughing will likely not heal Hashimoto’s, but it may make your symptoms feel less intense. It contributes to a decrease in stress levels, which in turn lowers your immune reaction.

How we write: our information is based on the results of peer reviewed studies using the National Library of Medicine platform. It is written by scientists and reviewed by external experts. If you believe we might have overseen crucial scientific information, please contact us at

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, cure or diagnose any disease or condition. If you want to change your treatment, lifestyle, your diet, include supplements in your diet or have concerns about your health, please consult your doctor before trying new approaches.


1. Cousins N. Anatomy of an illness (as perceived by the patient), 1976

2. Bennett HJ. Humor in medicine, 2003

3. Hasan H, et al. Laugh yourself into a healthier person: a cross cultural analysis of the effects of varying levels of laughter on health, 2009

4. Bennett MP, et al. Humor and Laughter May Influence Health: III. Laughter and Health Outcomes, 2008

5. Dunbar RI, et al. Social laughter is correlated with an elevated pain threshold, 2012

6. Walter KN, et al. Elevated thyroid stimulating hormone is associated with elevated cortisol in healthy young men and women, 2012

7. Agha-Hossein F, et al. The association of elevated plasma cortisol and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, a neglected part of immune response, 2015

8. Silverman MN, et al. Glucocorticoid regulation of inflammation and its functional correlates: from HPA axis to glucocorticoid receptor dysfunction, 2012

9. Bauer M, et al. Thyroid hormones, serotonin and mood: of synergy and significance in the adult brain, 2002

Photo: Unsplash; Design: VLM Health



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