Laughter is one of the best forms of medicine around. Numerous studies have revealed that a regular belly laugh can improve your emotional state and health―it can lower blood pressure, boost your immune system, reduce stress hormones and even improve sleep. This in turn can improve your wellbeing and friendships because laughter is catchy. When you genuinely smile or laugh with someone, chances are they’ll reciprocate.

So we spoke with Bron Roberts, who’s known as Australia’s original 'Laughter Lady', to get her top tips for laughing more every day.

Funny Business: Why Laughing is Good for Your Health
Research shows that we hardly ever laugh when we are alone. Scroll through Instagram or spend a few minutes on YouTube searching for funny videos, like cute cat videos. Science has revealed that “digital pet therapy” does more than simply entertain ― it can lift your mood.    

1. Position yourself to feel happy

Changing your posture can change your mood, Bron says. Drop your shoulders, lift your head high, take a deep belly breathe to expand and put a smile on your face. You will be more open to opportunities to laugh when you behave as if you feel happy and confident. 

2. Embrace the Positive

Try focusing on the lighter side of life. Pay attention to what makes you smile and take a second to be grateful for these moments. Take any opportunity to laugh aloud. The more you practise being optimistic, the more it will come naturally to you.

Funny Business: Why Laughing is Good for Your Health
"Laughter is an instant vacation." Milton Berle    

3. Step up Your Laughter Reaction

If something makes you smile ― add in a chuckle. Then expand your chuckle to a laugh-out-loud moment. Before you know it, you’ll be benefiting from a full belly-laugh.

4. Find your Funny bone

Spend a few minutes on YouTube searching for funny videos, tune into a TV comedy skit, or join an email list of terrible puns. Also check your local news for comedy clubs and festivals. Finding what you enjoy, and like-minded people to share it with, can bring a shine to your day.

5. Walk outside and watch for joy

Going out for a walk and watching kids, pets, birds and people as you pass by can be a wonderful way to trigger a laugh. Walking has the added benefit of generating some exercise-induced endorphins into your bloodstream, lifting your mood.

6. Spend time with friends and family that make you feel happy

Good relationships are vital when it comes to happiness. Spend time with the people who make you happy, especially the ones who make you laugh. Spending time with family and friends not only makes us feel great, good relationships also create wonderful memories, some of which can make you laugh simply by thinking of them.

The Science of Laughter: Health Benefits of Laughter
Pets can make us laugh ― a lot. Just a few minutes of playing with a pooch or cat signals our brain to crank up serotonin and oxytocin production — two calming chemicals that make us feel happy.

7. Accentuate the positive – with yoga

A chance encounter with famous Indian GP Dr Madan Kataria (known as “the Guru of Giggling”) led Bron to train as a laughter yoga leader, teaching a practice that combines laughter with yoga’s deep breathing techniques.

“Some laughter yoga involves faking the laughter until it starts to be genuine, but I’m not all that comfortable with that,” she says.

“Instead, I’ve developed a bit of a comedy routine. I don’t really use jokes, I use humour to fill people in on the benefits of laughter, attach the odd funny story, it seems to work.”

Curious about laughter yoga? Find out more.

Through her agency, Let’s Laugh, Bron Roberts runs corporate laughter workshops and presentations that promote positive behavioural change and wellbeing through laughter. Bron pioneered the use of therapeutic laughter in Australia two decades ago, and leads one of the country’s longest running laughter clubs. She also helped to set up Australia’s first fully certified Laughter Leader training program.

The Science of Laughter: Health Benefits of Laughter