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.

Source: MayoClinic.org