Studies show a good dose of laughter has great benefits for your body.
Laughter may not be the best medicine, but it’s still a pretty good one. Scientists have spent years studying laughter, and studies still show a good dose of laughter has great benefits for your body.
Related: Why Smiling Is Good for You
Here are seven health benefits of laughter:
True laughter releases endorphins. One effect of the release of this hormone is that it increases pain tolerance. One study had participants watch 15 minutes of a comedy show in a group. Their pain tolerance increased 10% more than before the laughter. For those who watched a comedy show alone rather than with others, their pain tolerance also increased, but it was slightly less than 10%.
Increases your chances of getting pregnant
A 2011 study showed women going through in vitro fertilization were 16% more likely to get pregnant when entertained by a clown than those who did not have the clown encounter.
Helps your heart
A good guffaw is healthy for your heart. It helps your heart by increasing the amount of oxygen in your blood and kicking up your heart rate. It also decreases arterial wall stiffness–a link to cardiovascular disease.
Boosts your immune system
Laughing can help you stay safe from viruses by improving your immune system. Laughing releases more anti-infection antibodies to help protect your body from infection.
Makes you happier
Laughing helps lighten your mood. It can lessen chronic depression and anxiety as well as make it easier to cope with challenging situations.
Your body releases cortisol when you’re stressed. Because it’s known as the stress hormone, cortisol gets a bad rap, but it plays an important role in the body. It helps manage blood sugar levels, reduces inflammation, manages metabolism, and triggers the fight or flight response in your body at critical times. But too much cortisol and your body feels that stress.
Laughter is one of the ways your body can help regulate cortisol. Laughing increases your oxygen intake, which stimulates body circulation and decreases your cortisol levels. Some studies show that just the act of laughing—without having humor in it—can have positive stress-relieving effects.
Relaxes your body
Stress causes your muscles to tense up. Laughing can help relieve stress because it relaxes your muscles. A good laugh can relieve your muscles of extra stress for up to 45 minutes because it stimulates circulation.
Taking a self-care break and finding things that entertain you can feel like a luxury, but for the sake of your health, it’s essential. Even 15 minutes a day to do something that makes you laugh could help you live into retirement. Or, if nothing strikes you as funny, just force a fake laugh and see what happens.