According to a recent study, happier couples do this
As you’d probably expect, we at HelloGiggles know our giggles. And we’re gonna keep the giggles going, because according to a recent study, giggling in tandem with your partner can make you a happier couple overall.
Published in the journal Personal Relationships, the study was conducted by University of North Carolina social psychologist Laura Kurtz, who has been fascinated for years by the idea of shared laughter in relationships. “We can all think of a time when we were laughing and the person next to us just sat there totally silent,” she told TIME. “All of a sudden that one moment takes a nosedive. We wonder why the other person isn’t laughing, what’s wrong with them, or maybe what’s wrong with us, and what might that mean for our relationship.”
In the study, Kurtz tested 77 heterosexual couples who had been in a relationship for an average of four years. While recording them, the couples were asked to describe how they first met. Kurtz and her team looked out for instances of “spontaneous laughing” — measuring how often and how long they laughed together.
Afterwards, each couple also filled out a survey about their relationship satisfaction and closeness. “In general, couples who laugh more together tend to have higher-quality relationships,” Kurtz told TIME. “We can refer to shared laughter as an indicator of greater relationship quality.”
That makes total sense. Picture a moment when you laughed together with your partner. GIGGLING FEELS GOOD, guys — and sharing a funny moment helps to make you feel so much closer. That’s something we’ve all felt at one point or another, and it turns out science supports it, too.
However, there’s actually not a ton of research done on laughter and relationships, explained Kurtz. “Despite how intuitive this distinction may seem, there’s very little research out there on laughter’s relational influence within a social context,” she told TIME. “Most of the existing work documents laughter’s relevance to individual outcomes or neglects to take the surrounding social context into account.”
So, as long as a couple laughs together, they’re sharing a moment that can strengthen their relationship in ways we can’t even imagine. “Moments of shared laughter are potent for a relationship,” she says. “They bring a couple closer together.” Even in cultures where people express their laughter with “close-mouthed smiles,” such as Eastern cultures, Kurtz claims any kind of laughter is key.
This isn’t the first study that’s proven laughter is good for us — a 2009 study done by the University of Maryland found that giggling can prevent heart disease. While in 2008, The American Physiological Society Press Release discovered laughter decreases stress levels. Who knew a good joke was THAT important?
While we hope more studies are conducted on this subject, and that more diverse couples are included in said studies, these results do make us pretty happy. Some say if your relationship is feeling a little dull, you should hit the bedroom, but nah — turn on those comedy specials, grab your love, and get ready to do some serious giggling. We can already feel the love!
(Image via NBC)