April is National Humor Month, a time to honor all those who make us laugh—family, friends, neighbors, teachers, performers, and professionals. This celebration was established in 1976 in an effort to promote public awareness of the value of laughter, which has been shown to improve health, boost morale, increase communication skills, and enrich people’s quality of life.

April is the perfect time for this type of celebration—this month not only features, but starts off with an All Fool’s Day. Since the 1500s, these types of holidays have sanctioned frivolity and pranks. In fact, the month is littered with celebrations of fun and joy: April 5 is Fun at Work Day, April 13 is Pursuit of Happiness Day (a day to reflect on and amplify your happiness).

Physical Benefits

Throughout the last 40 years, laughter has been repeatedly cited as having a positive effect on the healing process. In some circles, the curative power of laughter and its ability to alleviate stress is considered one of the greatest medical discoveries of modernity.

Norman Cousins, in his work Anatomy of an Illness, stated “laughter is internal jogging.” It boosts the heart rate, increases blood flow, and causes us to breathe faster, which delivers more oxygen to the body. Laughter reduces stress and cortisol levels, while also relaxing the body; studies even show that the mere act of smiling can alter your mood.

Humans are Humorous

Humans are the only species to laugh, and adults laugh an average of 17 times a day. The brain regulates this complex response, which involves some of the same skills utilized in problem solving.

When it comes down it, humans love to laugh. So much so that there are entire industries built around laughter, designed to get us laughing because it feels so good.

Laugh More

10 Tips to Lighten up and Laugh More – Huffington Post

Comic Relief: 7 Simple Ways to Laugh More Every Day – Dr. Frank Lipman

18 Simple Ways to Put Laughter Back into Your Life – Lifehack

Laugh More with your Little One

Encouraging Your Child’s Sense of Humor – KidsHealth

10 Ways to Make Your Family Laugh More – All Pro Dad

10 Ways to Make Kids Laugh – Fireflies + Mud Pies

Now, get out there and giggle!