One of the things we can do to enjoy life more is to laugh. Not only does it feel good to laugh, but there is evidence to support that it is good for our health.
Laughter protects the heart. A recent study showed that people with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease. Laughing decreases blood pressure, increases blood flow, and improves blood vessel function which may help protect you against heart disease.¹
Laughter relaxes the body. Laughing relieves tension and relaxes our muscles, an effect that has been shown to last for up to 45 minutes after.²
Laughter puts you in a better mood. Laughing triggers the release of hormones in the brain called endorphins. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being.²
Laughter decreases pain. Endorphins also temporarily relieve pain and are often called the body's natural pain killer.²
Laughter decreases anxiety and stress. There is a decrease in stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline as a result of laughing. And people who laugh more tend to report lower anxiety and feelings of stress.³
Laughter may boost the immune system. Some studies show that laughing increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus potentially improving our resistance to disease.²
¹University of Maryland Medical Center, Dr. Michael Miller, Laughter is the Best Medicine for Your Heart