6 Health and Wellness Benefits of Laughter

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

When is the last time you really laughed? Not just any laugh, but the kind of laughter that makes your shoulders shake and your head tilt back? If you’re like most adults, you probably can’t remember the last time you had a hearty belly laugh.

In Laugh Your Way to Happiness, Lesley Lyle writes:

Laughter is a resource that is available to you in a never-ending supply, but first you need to access it and allow it to flow so that you can utilize its full potential. You may have forgotten, but during early childhood, laughter was your only means to communicate pleasure, joy, and happiness. Now you may have become one of the majority of adults who are estimated to laugh an average of 15 times a day, unlike children who laugh and giggle between 300 and 500 times each day.

Laughter might be just the medicine you need to live a healthier, more fulfilling life. Here are the benefits of getting a getting a few laughs.

1. You’ll have lower blood pressure

Studies have found that laughter may lower blood pressure. Following a hearty laughter session, blood pressure first rises but then lowers. Blood vessels dilate and more oxygen enters the blood stream as a result of deeper breathing. Laughing at least 15 minutes every day can improve your heart health, according to The Humour Foundation, an Australian charity focused on promoting the health benefits of humor.

2. You’ll have less stress

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

When you have a good laugh, you reduce stress and anxiety. Loma Linda University professor Dr. Lee Berk found that even the anticipation of laughter can block the body from releasing destructive stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine.

3. Your immune system will be stronger

Berk’s research also showed that the anticipation of something humorous can cause an increase in human growth hormone, which helps boost immunity. This hormone increased by 87% in study participants who were looking forward to watching a funny video.

4. You’ll be happier

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

A few chuckles can make you a glass-is-half-full type of person. People who laugh often tend to be happier. Studies have shown this is likely because laughter results in the release of endorphins.

5. Your relationships will be stronger

Laughter is not only good for your health but also your personal relationships. Couples who laugh together often form a stronger bond and are able to diffuse arguments quicker. Furthermore, cracking a joke can help break the ice with a stranger. You never know, you might make a new friend.

6. People will think you’re pretty hot

Source: iStock

Do you want to be a love magnet? Work on your jokes. Women tend to be more attracted to funny men than men who don’t know how to let loose and see the humorous side of life. A study conducted by University of Kansas professor Jeffrey A. Hall found that the more a woman laughs when spending time with a man, the more likely she is interested in him as a romantic partner.

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