If you’ve had a good laugh recently, keep it up: science shows there are numerous reasons why laughing is good for you.

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Longevity and health—so long as you nail the punchline. The adage about laughter being the best medicine is actually doctor-approved and recommended. Chocked full of mental, emotional and physical benefits, laughing not only makes us feel happy and relaxed, but allows us to live longer, be healthier and provides an edge when battling ailments like mental illness. Laughter helps combat stress by increasing blood flow throughout the body, boosts the immune system, heightens your threshold for pain and even assists in facilitating better breathing. The boost in blood flow helps break down blockages in arteries caused by stress and anxiety, releasing an uptick of T-cells, B-cells and Gamma-interferons—cells and proteins that fight against disease. (Bonus points if you’re a woman, who tend to make audiences laugh 127 percent more than their male counterparts.)

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