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THRIVE

The power of viral joy

Sometimes all it takes to invoke pure joy is to watch someone else in that same state. Whether you see your friend laughing at a TV commercial or your child uncontrollably giggling at a dog, these moments will warm your heart, lift your spirits and just for a moment, make you forget about life's worries.

Joyous laughter is a human experience. It's also good for us. Scientific studies reveal this kind of laughter calms cardiovascular stress and produces a state of calm after the convulsive movements accompanying the laugh.

When we perceive joy from others, it can be contagious and trigger joy in us. We then carry that feeling of joy and are often more likely to share and connect with others to build social networks.

Plus, smiling and being joyful provide positive health benefits. Smiling relaxes the facial muscles and calms the nervous system. Laughing sends more oxygen to the brain and that triggers the release of endorphins, or brain chemicals that help us feel positive. Laughing can also lower blood pressure, relieve stress and boost mood.

Next time you're feeling down, think about how you can increase your capacity for joy every single day—and never underestimate the power of unadulterated joy. It's beyond infectious.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

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