What’s the one prescription I am always happy to dispense?

Take two belly laughs and call me in the morning.

Safer than any big pharma pill-of-the-moment and free of harmful side effects, laughter is one of the easiest things you can do to promote healing and well-being. In fact, in my 20 years of medical experience, I’ve found that patients who have a sense of humor and laugh a lot tend to heal better and faster than those who don’t. Therefore I say, if health and wellness is your goal, skip irony, bypass sarcasm, and make the conscious choice to add more joyous laughter into to your day.

Here are ten simple health-enhancing reasons to have a daily laugh—and in my next post, I’ll show you seven simple ways to get more of them:

1. Laughter helps boost your immune system . . .

by increasing T cell activity, those “killer cells” that help our bodies fight viruses and tumors.

2. Laughter helps lower blood pressure . . .

and cortisol levels, decreases pain, and can also help stabilize blood sugar.

3. Laugher stimulates chemical changes in the brain . . .

that help buffer our bodies against the cumulative effects of stress.

4. Laughter burns a few extra calories . . .

according to a recent university study, just ten to fifteen minutes worth of chuckles throughout the day can burn up to forty calories.

5. Laughter stimulates the release of endorphins . . .

the mood-elevating brain chemicals behind the “runner’s high.”

6. Laughter helps reduce inflammation throughout the body . . .

good news for your heart, brain, and circulatory health.

7. Laughter “massages” internal organs . . .

which is why it’s sometimes referred to as “internal jogging”—with effects similar to exercise.

8. Laughter provides a light workout . . .

for the heart, lungs, diaphragm, and even the abdominal muscles.

9. Laughter releases tension in the muscles . . .

of the face, neck, shoulders, and abdomen—all common areas where we tend to hold lots of tension.

10. Laughter is physically and mentally therapeutic . . .

an involuntary response, that positively alters mood instantly. What could be better?

And in the words of nineteenth-century humorist, Mark Twain, “Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” A wise man indeed!

Dr. Frank Lipman is an acclaimed Integrative Physician and the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. For over 20 years his personal brand of healing has helped thousands of people reclaim their vitality and recover their zest for life. Focused on sustainable wellness—instead of quick fixes—he offers patients a customized blend of Western medicine with acupuncture, nutritional counseling, vitamins and herbs, relaxation techniques, physical therapy, and bodywork. In 2010 he developed Be Well by Dr. Frank Lipman, a line of leading-edge supplements and health programs. He is the author of Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again and Total Renewal: 7 Key Steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long-Term Health.

For more on Dr. Lipman, please visit his resourceful WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK or TWITTER.