A laugh a day
How our bodies physically respond to laughter
Having a good laugh with your friends or at a TV show, a personal memory or a cartoon strip can relieve stress. But it doesn’t just lighten your mood—it actually causes short-term physical changes in your body. Here are some immediate reasons to chuckle:
• Organ stimulation. Laughter increases your intake of air, thereby stimulating your heart, lungs and muscles, and boosts endorphins (happy chemicals!) released by your brain.
• Activate your stress response. In the same way exercise increases your heart rate and blood pressure, a hearty laugh fires up and cools down your stress response, leaving you feeling loose and relaxed.
• Release tension. Laughter increases your body’s circulation, which can help reduce the physical symptoms of stress.