Want to feel better? Have more energy? Watch a silly video.
You’ve heard the expression a million times: “Laughter is the best medicine.” It’s not just an old saying. Research links laughter to a number of health benefits.
Studies have credited laughter with improving a number of health markers. According to the American Heart Association, laughing every day can reduce inflammation, increase circulation and increase good cholesterol. It’s also been shown to lower levels of cortisol, a hormone often linked to stress. In combination, these benefits can lower the risk of heart disease.
Finding your funny can also alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. For example, in a study conducted by researchers at Indiana University Media School, viewers of online cat videos reported feeling “more energetic” with “fewer negative emotions.”
Plus, it just feels good to genuinely, truly laugh. A great big belly laugh generally means you’re enjoying yourself, which is always a good thing.
So keep watching those silly cat videos on YouTube. Assemble a Netflix lineup of your favorite comedies. Read a funny book. Whatever makes you laugh, have it at the ready for the next time you have a less-than-optimal day. These things aren’t just for fun anymore—they’re therapy.
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Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor