A woman and her dear friend laugh together.

5 reasons why an LOL can help your health in Colorado

NOV 07, 2018
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You know that friend who is always good for a loud, hearty laugh? Turns out her sunny disposition is healthy — for relaxation, immune function, and even pain management.


Kaiser Permanente Behavioral Medicine Specialist Amanda Bye, PsyD, offers 5 reasons why you should, well, LOL.


1. Laughter is a stress buster. “It releases endorphins, which help people feel good,” Dr. Bye says. “Endorphins also increase tolerance for both physical and emotional pain.”


2. Laughter boosts immunity. “It increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, which help to prevent or fight disease,” Dr. Bye explains.


3. Laugher relaxes the body. A good belly laugh may pack a one-two punch. “Chemicals are released that relax us, and laughter changes how we look at things, too,” Dr. Bye adds. “If we look at something as being funny, it’s not as stressful or painful.”


4. Laughter strengthens social networks. “It’s a way for humans to connect to each other. People who use humor are seen as more socially likeable,” Dr. Bye says, noting that laughter helps improve teamwork, decrease conflict, and otherwise make human connections stronger.


5. Laughter is a little bit of exercise. Before you laugh this one off, take a minute to consider that the effects of laughter include increased breathing, oxygen use, and heart rate — all similar to a quick burst of physical activity.


How to laugh more

Now that you know laughter is good for your health, you want more of it, right? Dr. Bye explains how.


  • Be social. “People are 30 times more likely to laugh in a social setting than alone,” Dr. Bye says. Go to game night, spend time with a good friend, or even try laughter yoga.
  • Look for the humor in situations. It will help you feel less stressed and be more mindful.
  • Spend time with children and pets. “The average child laughs 400 times a day,” Dr. Bye says. So build a fort with your niece or cuddle with your dog after work.
  • Watch your favorite comedy on TV. You could also go to a comedy club or improv show, or buy your child a joke book.
  • Smile at yourself in the mirror. “Fake it until you feel it,” Dr. Bye says. It may feel forced at first, but the more you try the closer you’ll get to genuine laughter.

Find more ways to beat stress.


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TOPICSColoradomental healthMental Health and WellnessStress Management