11 Reasons Why Laughter is Good Medicine

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The other day I was describing how I love to see my friend who I was meeting for lunch.  Every time we get together we laugh.  Laughter is good in so many ways.  It can:

  1. Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  2. Reduces Pain.  It releases endorphins, which boost energy, act as natural painkillers and enhance mood.
  3. Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. This can result in a good, relaxed feeling.
  4. Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
  5. Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
  6. Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
  7. Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
  8. Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier.
  9. Burn Calories.  It does not replace going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn about 40 calories.
  10. Live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don’t laugh as much. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer.
  11. Get out of trouble.  Laughter is also a good way to dissolve social conflict.  My little brother used to elude punishment sometimes because he was so funny.

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