Open Up and Say Ha Ha
Reader's Digest Canada|October 2020
Open Up and Say Ha Ha
The surprising reasons laughing is good for you
Rebecca Philps

GRANDMA ALWAYS SAID that laughter is the best medicine. But what do scientists say? While chuckling can’t cure cancer, it does have some measurable health benefits—it’s good for your heart, your brain, your relationships and your overall sense of well-being.

Laughing is considered a sign of happiness, but it also brings it on, triggering the brain to release feel-good neurotransmitters: dopamine, which helps the brain process emotional responses and enhances our experience of pleasure; serotonin, which buoys our mood; and endorphins, which regulate pain and stress and induce euphoria. A recent study even showed that laughing with others releases endorphins via opioid receptors, which suggests that laughter produced euphoria is like a narcotic— but without the obvious drawbacks.

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October 2020