We have all heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine”; however very few of us know that this has actually been proven to be very much true. A good sense of humor and the ability to laugh can be beneficial for your health physically, emotionally and socially.

It is much cheaper than a trip to the doctor and works much better than any medicine out there, so why not give it a try?

Here are only a handful of reasons why it would be beneficial to anyone out there to develop your sense of humor:

1. It is linked to healthy function of blood vessels.

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Laughter triggers the dilation or expansion of the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels, increasing blood flow. “It is conceivable that laughing may be important to maintain a healthy endothelium, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” says principal investigator Michael Miller.

2. It improves emotional health.

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Laughter and humor trigger the brain’s emotional and reward centers, releasing dopamine, which helps the brain to process emotional responses and enhances the experience of pleasure; serotonin, which lifts moods; and endorphins which regulates pain and stress and induces euphoria.

Laughter mimics the euphoric states experienced in communal music-making and dancing. Evidence suggests these states are associated with the release of endorphins.

3. It plays an important role in social interaction and bonding.

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It has been hypothesized that laughter has been around long before humans begun to use speech. Therefore there are already instinctive social cues humans are aware of in a social situation.

Laughter plays an important role in regulating conversation in humans and is also significant in facilitating social bonding between groups of individuals. A sense of humor is important in interpersonal communication and attraction, and an important component of social competence. A healthy sense of humor bonds friends and family and reinforces group identity. It can even be argues that laughter can promote a happier marriage.

4. It makes you more attractive.

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Studies have shown that men with a good sense of humor are found more attractive. In turn, men are more attracted to women who laugh at their jokes. It makes you more comfortable to be around in social situations, such as parties, allowing you to broaden your social circles. It is also argued that having a good sense of humor in a job interview increases your chances of getting hired.

5. It lowers stress and anxiety levels.

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Humor is described as an element of resilience and can allow you to put everyday problems in perspective, increasing your coping capabilities in difficult situations. It moderates the adverse effects of stress on health and promotes a positive mood to cancel out negative emotions. It helps to see the funny side in adverse situations. Genuine laughter is also contagious, so why not help improve someone’s mood by sharing a laugh with them?

6. It strengthens the immune system.

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Stressful experiences in everyday life suppress the immune system, from the simplest situations such as the car not wanting to start, increasing the risk of infectious illness and heart disease. A good sense of humor prevents stress from affecting the immune system, protecting you from disease.

7. It beneficial to the respiratory system.

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Laughter provides the fastest and easiest method of regulating breathing and flushing out the lungs. It leads to an immediate increase in heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen consumption. Enthusiastic prolonged laughter rids the lungs of residual air and replaces it with fresh, oxygen-rich air. In simple terms, it allows you to breathe deeper, improving respiratory health especially for those with respiratory ailments such as asthma. It is so effective in fact, that Laughter Yoga has been developed. Laughter Yoga recharges the body and controls the mental state by regulating the flow of ‘life force’, inducing calmness, focus and energy.

Featured photo credit: Emma Watson Laughing HD via hdwallpaper.freehdw.com

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