According to Dr. Herbert Benson, humor and laughter are effective medicines in combating negativity and they can have a beneficial effect on one’s physical health. (184-185Shaevitz, Marjorie Hansen. The Confident Woman. p 184-185. NY: Harmony Books, 1999.)

There is no linear, invariable relationship between humor and health. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Healing Beyond the Body. p 143. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2001.

Humor/laughter can help to strengthen the immune system, aid memory, help prevent illness and disease, and anesthetize the body. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Have a Clue and Women Always Need More Shoes. p 60-62. NY: Broadway Books, 2004.)

Norman Cousins, former editor in chief of Saturday Review: published an article about his illness and the benefits of laughter and wrote a book. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Mind. p. 158-159. NY: Bantam Books, 1988.)

Healthful humor stimulates wit, mirth, or laughter and creates closeness and intimacy (e.g., pokes fun at oneself and situations). Hurtful humor creates pain and distance and pokes fun at others (e.g., sarcasm, put down, ethnic jokes). (Sultanoff, Steven, M., PhD. What is Humor?)

Humor can provide many benefits when health has failed, including:

  • Helps individuals step back from their illnesses and gain perspective
  • Triggers smiles, lifts the spirit, and speeds recovery
  • Insulates against fear and loneliness and involves others in the conversation
  • Is a sign of caring, compassion, connection, and approval
  • Helps to validate that although a person may be seriously ill at the moment, he/she is alive

(Gascon, D. Illness is a laughing matter; Humor for your Health. 2003.)

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