Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Details

Curran, J. (2018, February). Stress Less - Laugh More - It's the L.A.W. (Laughter At Work) - Using Laughter to Cope with Vicarious Trauma. Paper presentation at the 2018 National Wellness for Law Forum: Do No Harm, Gold Coast, Australia.

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Copyright © The Author, 2018

Distribution License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


Laughter as a form of guided exercise, combined with breathing and mindful techniques could be taught and practiced by lawyers, law students and legal staff, for improved performance, reduced stress and related illness, reduced depression and anxiety.

Workplace systems could be implemented in law firms and universities

6 science based reasons to laugh every day –

(Journal of Neuroscience 23 May 2017, 0688-16; DOI: )

  1. Studies show laughing releases endorphins, via opoid receptors in the brain bringing a feeling of well being, happiness, optimism and physical relaxation. These changes occur quickly and can be long lasting, helping counter depression and anxiety and bringing pain relief.
  2. Laughter triggers the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, the brain chemical targeted by anti depressant medication. Serotonin is needed by the brain and affects mood, social behaviour, appetite, digestion, sleep and memory.
  3. Laughter is contagious, via brain to brain transmission of endorphins and oxytocin. It promotes a sense of togetherness in groups, bringing harmony to relationships at work. It promotes communication.
  4. Studies show couples who laugh together have stronger more resilient relationships that are happier and last longer.
  5. Laughter protects your heart, having an anti inflammatory effect and protecting heart muscles and blood vessels from damage and cardiovascular disease, reducing the risk of heart attack.
  6. Laughter of different types fosters brain connections to different areas of the brain.

Humour and laughter makes us more likeable and trustworthy, fosters creativity, defuses stressful situations, facilitates communication, and can boost a company’s bottom line. Studies prove that a sense of humour is essential for business success. McClelland Centre for Research and Innovation found that executives considered to be “outstanding” use humour more than twice as often as those considered to be just “average”, and a Hodge Cronin and Associates survey of more than 730 CEOs found that 98% of them would rather hire someone with a good sense of humour than someone equally talented but with a more serious demeanor.

Helping legal professionals diminish job-related stress and improve work-life balance may be an employer's most effective retention strategy, a new survey indicates.

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