(WZZM) - Laughter. It is the most fundamental way we communicate. In fact, we laugh even before we learn to talk because we're born with the ability.
And it all starts in our brain.
"When we laugh, it triggers certain areas of our brain and then the neurology fired throughout our brain triggering other areas," says Matthew Clark with the Clark Institute in Grand Rapids. He is a psychologist who has studied the affects of laughter.
"Even though it may stimulate your emotional part of your brain, it also will stimulate your frontal lobe area making it so you think more logically think more positively throughout the day, make better decisions."
When you laugh, it causes neurons in five different areas of the brain to fire. It begins on the left side of the brain, moves to the frontal lobe, and then to the right side where you decide if the joke is funny. From there two other areas of the brain trigger your body to, well, open your mouth and laugh.
But laughter does more than make us feel good - it also creates intimate bonds between people.
"People that we feel similar to, we think are more funny. And then when somebody makes us laugh, we also find them more attractive. In men especially, if somebody laughs at their jokes they find them especially appealing or especially attractive."
Not to mention the positive effects it has on our mental health.
"If you're laughing and happy and have a more positive outlook you actually make better decisions. Endorphins kick in in the brain, the neurology of your brain starts flashing, it perks you up and just puts you in a really good mood throughout the day."
On average, adults laugh 15 times a day, but maybe we need to take a lesson from our kids who laugh up to 400 times a day. After all, it is a great stress reliever!
And laughing is also great exercise. A ten minute belly laugh burns as many calories as a 20 minute run. And there have also been studies showing that laughing improves your heart health, your memory and boosts your immune system.