April Fools' Day: The Benefits of Practical Jokes

This year we encourage you to embrace the hilarity and mate-ship of April Fools’ day—because anyone can benefit from a good laugh.

Laughter is key to the human experience, according to scientists who reviewed it within a social context:

  • In-depth research into the body’s reaction to laughter showed that laughing is closer to breathing than speaking.

  • Being with others increases our chance of laughing 30 times over!

  • Laughter IS contagious.

  • We don’t always need a good joke to laugh—most conversational laughter occurs because of statements and comments. 

But practical jokes are a great way to get a lot of people in on the fun!

Psychologist and researcher Dr. Rod Martin, studied humour and laughter for over 30 years and says that humour not only involves laughter and other people, but also cognitive and emotional aspects as well. After decades of research on the topic, he says it best

“I see humour as being fundamentally a social activity…most humour arises in response to the behaviour of other people…I think humour evolved as a mechanism for enhancing group cohesion.”

Laughing certainly does bring us together. And that’s important, as perception of social support can positively impact our mental health.

Research has also shown that people with a sense of humour have an increased ability to deal with stress.This might be because humorous people see negative events as challenging rather than threatening.

Other research on students found that laughter not only lowered stress, but cultivated motivationmaintained attention and improved overall performance. Maybe your next meeting should start off with a good chuckle?

Due to laughter’s ability to lower stress hormones in the body, it’s also believed that it may decrease our susceptibility to stress-related diseases. That’s a good case for adding a hearty laugh to our well-being tool belt.

So, what practical jokes will you play this year to get people laughing? The stapler stuck in some Jell-O, hundreds of intentionally placed sticky notes, or the upside-down glass of water prank? Just make sure to check those HR guidelines and keep it appropriate and inoffensive if you’re getting cheeky at work.

Enjoy your social connections this 1st of April and happy pranking!