As you try to navigate today and avoid some of the more obvious pranks like plastic wrap over the toilet seat and more-clickbaity posts online than usual, you can also try to remember that April Fool’s Day itself is all about laughing. Because the holiday dates back all the way to the 1500s, the origins are a little muddy, and no one quite knows how the tradition of pranking began. Popular theories include tricking some people into believing that New Year’s Day was still on April 1st after the Gregorian calendar was adopted and moved the day to January 1st, the beginning of spring, and the vernal equinox. Regardless, today is when people are on high alert, while others want to create laughter – though who they’re trying to get to laugh may differ.
We recently wrote about how the activity of laughter can have mental and physical positive effects (check it out here!), but the list goes beyond those that we had briefly mentioned. Laughter is known for being contagious, which can help create a sense of togetherness and community, which can make you feel safer. It changes the way your neurons communicate with each other, doing so in a way that can help your memory. In general, it’s difficult to find the negatives in having a good, genuine laugh, especially if you’re doing so in a place you’re comfortable in, with people that make you happy, or both.
Whether or not pranks are funny is debatable (after all, they’re “humorous” because they trick and potentially embarrass others), and because they’re the main feature of April Fool’s Day, it can ironically make today feel a lot less amusing than any other day. Instead of make relationships strong like laughter can do, pranks can test them instead.
If you like pranking, do it in a harmless way, and are comfortable in the relationships you have with the people you pull them on, the activity can still create laughter and all the benefits that come with it. When done right, pranking can also create self-reflection on how you react to certain events and is often used in a way to bring people into a group (going too far however is hazing, which has severe consequences both physically and emotionally).
You can play a role in how you go about today. You can play harmless pranks if you enjoy it (the Internet has been known to do this for the past few years), but if you don’t, you can still use today to have a good laugh without potentially hurting yourself or others. Enjoying yourself and laughing can do wonders for your body and mind, and while sometimes it can feel like the hardest thing to do when your mental health isn’t at its strongest, finding that one thing that helps you crack a smile can feel like the best feeling in the world.
What do you think about April Fool’s Day? Have you ever played pranks before? What other funny things can you think people can do today that don’t involve pranking?