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6 Ways to Feel Happier, Be Healthier

How a positive attitude really can make a difference

A good belly laugh enhances mood, strengthens the immune system, boosts energy and prompts the release of feel-good chemicals called endorphins.

A good belly laugh dulls pain and boosts energy. — Ryan McVay/Getty Images

3. Have a Good Laugh

Laughter prompts physical changes that help the immune and endocrine systems function better.

There's even more. Scientists know that stress has a negative effect on the heart and causes blood vessels to narrow.

"New information coming out of our lab and others shows that a positive emotion like laughter has the opposite effect, releasing chemicals that allow blood vessels to open," explains cardiologist Michael Miller, M.D., of the University of Maryland Medical Center. "We believe that it's good for your heart to laugh regularly," says Miller, "and now we have direct evidence to support that."

Miller's prescription for laughter is at least one good belly laugh a day. So take yourself a little less seriously, find something that tickles your funny bone, and share this wonderful, free gift of laughter with others.

Next: Happiness Tip No. 4: Go for the green. >>

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