Eight health benefits that prove laughter is the best medicine

Everybody likes a good laugh; that's a truth universally acknowledged.

But have you ever really thought about how strange laughing is? Physiologically, we shake, we double-over, and we make loud noises that would be totally socially weird, if they weren't in the context of laughter.

That said, it's something that we start doing from a very early age, with almost no prompting, like this little cutie erupting into a spontaneous fit of giggles over the word "donkey."

In fact, scientists theorize that humans started laughing a verylong time ago; they think it was our first form of verbal communication before we developed true language!

Meanwhile, even as the origins of laughter remain something of an unexplained mystery, science has plenty to say about the effects that laughter can have on the here and now, from improving heart health to cutting calories.

Whoever first said that "laughter is the best medicine" really knew what they were talking about!

Everyone Loves A Good Laugh

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We all know exactly what it feels like to succumb to an uncontrollable case of the giggles. You're buoyant, you're energized, and something is hysterical, even if you can't totally remember what set you off! Plain and simple, laughing just feels good!

And the best news of all? It's also good for you!

Benefit #1: It Can Shrink Your Waistline

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While laughter may not replace exercise, it's definitely a start! We all know how it feels to laugh so hard that your abs hurt and you're downright exhausted.

Turns out, laughing doesn't just feel like a workout, it really does work your core muscles and burn extra calories. That's way more fun than doing sit-ups.

Benefit #2: It's Good For Your Heart

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Meanwhile, laughing is also great for your heart health!

Skimming off those extra calories and crunching your core muscles always helps, but laughter also gets your heart pumping, helping to improve your blood flow and the strength of your heart muscle. All of that adds up to better cardiovascular health overall.

Benefit #3: It Makes You Tougher

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We mean this in more ways than one. For one thing, as your chronic case of the giggles helps you build muscle tone and heart health, it may also be boosting your immune system, improving your body's ability to fight off the icky microbes that make you sick.

For another, having a good sense of humor makes you mentally tougher, and better able to put a positive (or downright funny) spin on just about anything.

Benefit #4: It's Relaxing

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Laughing just feels good, even when you laugh so hard it hurts. That's because the act of laughing simultaneously floods your brain with dopamine, the feel-good chemical that creates happiness, and forces all of your core muscles to clench up.

When you finally manage to stop laughing, your muscles will relax instantly, and will stay that way for up to 45 minutes.

Benefit #5: It Banishes Negativity

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It's pretty hard to hold onto negative emotions when you're in gales of hysterical laughter. Sure, laughter might not solve major problems in your life, but laughing — at anything — can banish depression, anxiety, and anger temporarily.

Those darker emotions might not be gone for good, but they might dissipate long enough for you to tackle your next challenge in a more positive frame of mind.

Benefit #6: It Strengthens Bonds

Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Humor is a great way to strengthen a bond, whether it's a romantic relationship or a friendship.

Sharing a laugh proves that you and your companion have a shared sense of humor, which is a great building block for any relationship. If you find the same things hilarious, that's pretty great common ground to be standing on.

Benefit #7: It Makes You Braver

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Humor is a major confidence boost. If you make a joke that goes over well, you're bound to feel a rush of self-assurance.

And even if you can't take credit for the joke, sharing a laugh is a social experience that makes you more comfortable with that crowd, and might make you daring enough to try something you normally wouldn't, like asking someone to dance, or taking the stage for karaoke.

Benefit #8: It's Contagious

Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

When one person starts laughing, it's pretty much impossible to resist the impulse to join in! After all, as we mentioned before, scientists say laughter is our earliest form of social communication.

A group of people is bound to form a positive connection if they all fall victim to a giggle fit at the same time; nothing strengthens relationships faster than laughing so hard that you can't remember what set you off in the first place!

Have you experienced any of the positive effects of a good laugh? Let us know below! And don't forget to SHARE with everyone who makes you laugh!

Find out more benefits of laughter:
Benefits of Laughter

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