Laughter may be the best medicine

Male office worker by female colleague's desk, laughing

Dealing with the stress of daily life is no laughing matter. Or, maybe it is: There are actually many health and wellness benefits associated with a good belly laugh.






Consider that laughter:

  • May help prevent heart disease by diffusing negative emotions such as anger, stress and depression that are bad for your heart; it lowers your blood pressure; and increases the blood flow and oxygen to your heart.
  • Relieves stress. Since high levels of stress are associated with a weaker immune system, using laughter to alleviate stress can strengthen your immune system. Laughter can also reduce the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, in your system.
  • May lengthen your life. Some studies have shown that older individuals who are quick to laugh and have a positive outlook outlive their more negative counterparts.
  • Helps to fight pain. In controlled studies, people in pain who were exposed to comedies and laughter experienced a lower level of pain than people who had the same type and severity of pain but no laughter.
  • Makes you more resilient. We all have our share of bad times. People who learn to laugh off unpleasant situations will protect themselves from undue stress.
  • Boosts your mood. It’s hard to stay mad or anxious after a hearty laugh. Usually the happy feelings last for a while.

It’s easy to forget how important laughter is in our lives. Consider that children laugh up to 400 times a day. Think about how often you laugh in the average day — it’s probably a much lower number than that. Here are some ideas for including more laughter in your life:

  • Get in the right frame of mind. Acknowledge all of the good things in your life and smile more, even for no reason.
  • Seek out funny people.
  • Rent comedies or sitcoms that tickle your funny bone.
  • Look at everyday situations with a comic eye.
  • Learn to laugh at yourself and not take everything too seriously.

Health Net, Inc.’s behavioral health subsidiary, MHN, offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through which members can receive support for stress, or access work-life services for help with childcare, eldercare and more. In addition, MHN’s EAP member website features articles, videos and tools for members on stress management, time management and whole-person well-being.

To learn more about MHN, please visit, call 1-800-327-7526 or email


This article is for informational and self-help purposes only. It should not be treated as a substitute for financial, medical, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice, or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified professional.

Managed Health Network, LLC (MHN) is a subsidiary of Health Net, Inc. The MHN family of companies includes Managed Health Network, MHN Services and MHN Government Services. Health Net and Managed Health Network are registered service marks of Health Net, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.




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Bret Smith