Four Benefits of Laughter

Knock knock! Who’s there? This January 24th, enjoy a good hearty guffaw in honor of National Belly Laugh Day. Note: you don’t need a belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly to participate. While we prefer the LOL-style big laughs, even a smile can start the ball rolling. From snickers to chuckles to side-splitting, doubled-over tears-of-joy laughter, celebrate this year’s Belly Laugh Day with a friend, stranger, or your favorite comedy!

Here are four benefits of laughter you can feel good about:

  1. It enhances well-being. While humor may be subjective, one thing we can all agree on is that laughing is contagious, laughing feels good, and laughter is fun to share. When we laugh, our bodies release endorphins into the bloodstream, boosting our sense of well-being and improving our overall disposition.


  1. It reduces stress. Whether the spontaneous milk-through-the-nose variety of school children or the maniacal laughter of evil geniuses, laughing in all forms is good for the mind and body. Laughing lessens anxiety, relaxing us and reducing stress hormones. It is the body’s natural pain reliever. So let it out! As you may have noticed, laughing releases tension. That’s because it lowers our blood pressure, reducing risk of heart attacks and improving overall cardiac health.


  1. It improves physical fitness. Ten to 15 minutes of laughter can burn as many calories as moderate walking. Many therapists promote the health benefits of laughter, which can have the same effects on the body as exercise. Laughter stimulates organs in the body, which can not only lower tension, but also tone our muscles. Flexing your abdominal muscles through laughter is great exercise. A daily dose of comedy is great preparation for beach season–tone those abs!


  1. It is good for overall health. While experts don’t agree on the reasons why, many studies show that laughing may be good for the immune system. Laughing increases blood circulation and boosts white blood cells known as T-cells, which are essential to maintaining your body’s immunity to foreign antibodies and eliminating harmful pathogens in the body.


Mastering the art of laughing is something to aspire to, but everyone is capable of enjoying a good, old-fashioned belly laugh from time to time. So let’s make an effort to find a reason to laugh every day, not just on National Belly Laugh Day! Add it to your list of New Year’s resolutions. After all, laugh and the world laughs with you!

Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups specialists can help you learn more about the health benefits of laughing, and may even have a knock-knock joke or two at the ready.

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