There’s a well-known saying that laughter is the best medicine. Many of us have personally experienced this, but what does science say? To put a twist on another age-old adage, it turns out that a laugh a day may well keep the doctor away.

Physiological Benefits

  • Research indicates that when we laugh, our body responds by reducing stress hormones like cortisol while increasing dopamine, a feel-good chemical.
  • Laughter has been linked with improved heart health, as it increases your circulation, heart rate, and oxygen intake while decreasing your blood pressure.
  • Research has shown that increased laughter may help your immune system and raise its level of antibodies.

Physical, Mental, and Social Benefits

  • If you laugh enough, it feels like a workout—in fact, fifteen minutes of laughter can burn up to forty calories.
  • Even though your face may hurt from laughing so much, laughter itself relaxes your muscles and decreases stress, producing an overall calming effect.
  • Laughter has been shown to help with pain tolerance, depression, and anxiety; you can even try laughter therapy or laughter yoga.
  • Do you experience social anxiety? Research has shown that laughter can help reduce such stressful situations, and it’s even included in social anxiety therapy.
  • Not surprisingly, perhaps, the more you share laughs with others, the better your relationships are, whether they’re romantic, family-based, or friendships.

So go ahead and laugh until you cry, and enjoy every moment doing so—your well-being will reap many rewards.