“Mirth is God’s medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it”, said Henry Ward Beecher. Indeed, science now tells us that a good laugh makes you feel good in more ways than one. A new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B has found that when we laugh properly, as opposed to producing a polite titter, the physical exertion leaves us exhausted and thereby releases endorphins which are complex brain chemicals.
Endorphins manage pain and promote feelings of well being. When we laugh heartily we produce a series of exhalations without drawing breath, an involuntary reaction that happens only in humans, which appears to trigger the release of endorphins. Laughter is important to apes but they breathe in as well as out when they laugh, unlike humans.
Photo: Based laughter by mboperator Via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)