When was the last time you lost yourself in laughter?

Sure, laughing makes us feel good both emotionally and physically, but its benefits go deeper than that. Studies suggest that a sense of humor is linked to a better quality of life and sense of well-being. Cultivating the ability to laugh in the face of difficult situations can breed happiness and a capacity to cope during times of high stress. And it turns out, there are emotional benefits of laughter — it’s associated with a more cheerful disposition and better mood overall.

The health benefits of laughter are no joke. Believe it or not, laughing actually stimulates healthy physical changes in the body. With a good laugh, you boost your health on several levels.

  1. Relieve Muscle Tension Laughing contracts muscles, not only giving you a micro workout but leaving you with a sense of ease.
  2. Reduce Pain Endorphins are the feel-good hormone, and when you laugh, they’re released and when they’re flowing, our threshold for pain gets a bump.
  3. Increase Circulation and Support Heart Health The increased blood flow brought on by laughter improves the functioning of blood vessels and promotes heart health.
  4. Alleviate Stress When you laugh, your stress response gets activated and then released, leaving you feeling relaxed and renewed.
  5. Healthier Relationships, Amplified Mood One thing we all know about laughter is that it’s contagious. Laughing is a natural social behavior. Most often, we laugh when we’re around other people—in one study, laughter was 30 percent more frequent in social versus solitary environments. While laughter is often brought on as an unconscious response to stimulus, it can be a hidden language with a profound ability to bind two people together. This ability to connect with others, especially with a loved one, can help you work through difficult emotional situations. In the short term, laughing together can aid in diffusing conflict and reducing anger. In the long term, humor increases feelings of intimacy and relationship satisfaction.

Often times, a short laugh can offer the stress-relief we need in a given moment. But an enduring sense of humor can be key to sustaining an overall sense of well-being and positivity in our lives generally.

Get together with friends and family and share stories. Go to restaurants or other places where you are likely to be surrounded by laughter. In fact, even the sound of laughter can trigger a positive response.

It’s far too easy to get wrapped up in stress, but we can remind ourselves that the costs for our health and happiness are serious. At the same time, it’s easy to boost our mood with a good laugh.

Well Within is a plant-based beauty and wellness e-commerce brand co-founded by seasoned beauty executives and skincare mavens Lynne Florio and Renee Tavoularis. Well Within is the online marketplace for Planted in Beauty, a collection of natural, organic, plant-based skincare.