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What a good laugh can do for you

Want to feel no pain? Or, better yet, just feel great? One trick is getting your brain to release endorphins, the body’s natural mood boosters. You could do that by running on a treadmill for about 20 minutes or you could have a good laugh! Like exercise, laughter has plenty of documented health benefits. Except you may not have heard about them.

Did you know that a hearty roar increases levels of immunoglobulin A, an infection-fighting substance that wards off colds and flu? Or that it boosts your respiration and heart rate, like a mini aerobic session? A good laugh ripples through your body, causing muscles to tense and then r-e-l-a-x.

Laughter is also good medicine for the soul. What better way to defuse fear and anxiety than with a giggle? Even a forced smile has been shown to raise spirits.

Tickle your funny bone with these tips:

  • Make time each day for reading a favorite cartoon.
  • Look for the humor in your errors.
  • The next time your mind is awhirl with doom-and-gloom thoughts, say them out loud. Your internal grumblings may sound hilarious when spoken.
  • Stretch your imagination; react to situations like a carefree kid rather than an overburdened adult.
  • Pass along funny jokes you’ve read or heard to friends and colleagues.
  • Spend time with friends and family who make you laugh.