That’s because scientists have shown that laughter has many positive impacts on the mind and the body beyond momentarily feeling good.
For example, watching a funny TV show or movie triggers the release of feel-good chemicals into the body that make us forget our aches and pains as muscles relax and stress hormones lower. Relieving tension in the muscles helps us sleep better, which is a powerful antidote to stress and pain in itself. One man with a painful spinal condition was able to sleep for hours after watching Marx Brothers films.
Sharing a good joke or funny story with friends builds our sense of connection to them, enhancing those relationships. Smiling and laughing naturally attracts others to us. Wouldn’t you rather spend time with someone who seems genuinely joyful than someone who is often anxious, angry or sad?
Laughter raises the number of infection-fighting antibodies and boosts our immune cells too. One study of people with diabetes found lower blood sugar levels after watch a comedy than sitting through a tedious lecture.
Humor also gets our blood flowing in the same way as a workout, so we actually can burn calories and improve blood flow enough to fight off cardiovascular problems.
With so many benefits, you might wonder how you can have a few laughs, especially if you are stressed out or simply not in the mood.
Some suggestions include goofing around with children, playing with a pet, reading the funny pages, going to a comedy club, or making time for fun activities like bowling or karaoke with friends.
Bring more humor into your life and enjoy the medicinal effects of a good laugh.