You’ve probably heard the phrase, “laughter is the best medicine,” but did you know it’s actually true? Here are five science-backed ways laughing has a positive effect on your well-being.
1. Laughing with other people releases endorphins in your brain called opioid receptors, which create a feeling of euphoria. Clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Matt Bellace says the “natural high” you get from laughing is far “superior” to a drug-induced one.
2. Both men and women view a sense of humor as one of the most attractive traits in a potential mate. Couples that laugh together have also been found to have a higher-quality relationship.
3. Laughter can improve your heart’s vascular function and circulation, which in turn lowers your risk of a heart attack. In addition, the endorphins released by laughing can lower your blood pressure, which reduces anxiety and takes tension off of your heart.
4. Laughing for 10 to 15 minutes has been found to burn between 10 and 40 calories. Laughter also reduces cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone that causes fat to be stored around your belly.
5. Laughter can cause the brain's cerebral cortex to release electrical impulses, which block the passage of negative thoughts. According to Shilagh Mirgain, a psychologist from the University of Wisconsin, laughing can help promote a “positive, optimistic outlook.”