Need a reason to laugh? A good chuckle can help keep your heart healthy in addition to lightening your mood and alleviating stress.

It may actually be true that laughter is the best medicine. Although researchers aren’t exactly sure why laughter is so good for your heart, studies have shown some heart-boosting effects of laughing that shouldn’t be ignored.

Not only does laughing help diminish symptoms of stress, anxiety, anger and depression, all of which increase your chance of developing heart disease, but laughing has also been shown to have other effects that are good for your heart. Research suggests laughter can decrease stress, reduce inflammation and increase your good cholesterol (HDL).

Here are some of the heart-boosting benefits of a good laugh:

One of the benefits of laughing is that you can do it just about anywhere and at any time. Another one is that it just feels good to laugh. The heart-healthy effects of laughing are immediate and have been found to last for 24 hours.

So what can you do to get in a healthy dose of laughter each day?

Just about anything you find humorous will work. Watch funny videos online, share a joke with a friend or go to a comedy show. Spend time with pets or kids. Laughter is contagious and children generally laugh a lot more than adults. Or simply try to take yourself less seriously and see the lighter side of events that may otherwise frustrate you. There’s really no downside to laughing, and if nothing else, it’s sure to brighten the moment.

Sources:

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/Humor-helps-your-heart-How_UCM_447039_Article.jsp#.WIgiiIWcH4g

http://umm.edu/news-and-events/news-releases/2009/laughter-is-the-best-medicine-for-your-heart

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/02/want-a-healthy-heart-laugh-more/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/laugh-and-be-thankful-its-good-for-the-heart-20101124839

http://share.upmc.com/2014/12/laughter-can-benefit-heart/

http://www.science20.com/news_articles/laughter_may_raise_good_cholesterol_and_lower_inflammation

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2686627/