While everyone instinctively knows laughter is good for us and can feel the positiive effects immediately after having a good laugh, research has documented the many physical, emotional, mental and social benefits of laughter.
Many of the benefits are the result of the increased oxygen we take in when we laugh. Normally, the lower two-thirds (2/3) of our lungs hold stale air. Laughing helps to clear out this stale air and increase oxygen flow to all of the cells in our body and brain
PHYSICAL - laughter strengthens the immune system, reduces pain, improves the cardiovascular system and respiratory systems, equalizes blood pressure by increasing low blood pressure and lowering high blood pressure, aides with digestion, and more.
MENTAL and EMOTIONAL - laughter is one of the quickest antidotes to stress, worry and negative emotions like depression and anger. It is virtually impossible to have negative thoughts or emotions when we are laughing.
SOCIAL - laughter breaks down barriers between people. It is a perfect icebreaker that helps people build trust and feel safe with each other. Shy people lose their inhibitions. It stops us from being judgmental of ourselves and others and helps free ourselves from our inflated and deflated egos. We learn to laugh at ourselves and not be so self-conscious about what others think or say about us.
CNN story on the benefits of laughter