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Five Health Benefits of Smiling and Laughing

Date: 02/01/21

woman wearing a yellow jacket with blonde curly hair laughing out loud

Next time you have your yearly checkup, don’t be surprised if your doctor recommends getting in at least 20 to 30 minutes of laughter each day. While this may seem like a silly suggestion, laughter has several health benefits including improved mood, reduced pain, and a strengthened immune system.[1] We are happy to share five ways smiling and laughing can improve your health.

Decrease Stress. Laughter has several health benefits including lowering stress hormones and reducing physical tension throughout your body. It can also help lower your blood pressure which is good for your heart health. Try listening to a funny podcast on your morning commute or during an evening walk. Finding something or someone funny not only improves your mood but laughter also relaxes your muscles by increasing your blood circulation. So the more you laugh, the more you will feel calm and stress-free!

Strengthen Immune System. That good feeling when you smile or laugh triggers a chemical reaction in your brain, which releases small proteins called neuropeptides. These tiny molecules maintain immune tolerance and may help fight potentially serious illnesses. Life can be hectic so make sure to include humor in your daily routine. Whether it’s watching your favorite comedy or sharing funny videos or memes with friends it’s important to find ways to keep the mood light and find time to have a laugh.

Improve Mood. When you smile your body releases three different hormones: dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. These hormones “trick” your body into feeling happier, as low levels of these hormones are associated with depression. Something as simple as looking through favorite photos on your phone or creating an album can bring a smile to your face. You’ll be surprised by how much your mood can improve by doing something as effortless as smiling!

Reduce Pain. The endorphins that are released when you smile can temporarily reduce body aches or minor pains. Over time increased laughter can elevate your pain threshold and help you build a higher pain tolerance. So if you’re experiencing soreness make it a priority to get some laughs in while watching one of your favorite comedy flicks. You’ll not only limit body pain but you’ll be improving your overall health and well-being, too!

Increase Positivity. Smiling creates a positive feeling. Maintaining this upbeat thinking has real health benefits such as increased life span, better cardiovascular health, and lower rates of depression. Make time to connect with friends or family who make you laugh whether it’s through their joke-telling or story-sharing. Remember, the more laughter in your life, the happier you and those around you will feel.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Please always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Programs and services are subject to change. Managed Health Network, LLC (MHN) is a subsidiary of Health Net, LLC. The MHN companies include Managed Health Network and MHN Services, LLC. Health Net and Managed Health Network are registered service marks of Health Net, LLC or its affiliates. All rights reserved.