Warning: Humor May Be Hazardous to Your HealthWe cannot escape illness entirely. It is a normal part of life. However, research has revealed that laughter is a useful factor for combating the negative effects of illness. Laughter can promote good health by increasing the number of disease-fighting immune cells. Laughter can also combat the negative effects of stress.
Humor is the spice of life. It helps to relieve a tense situation and provides us with a chance to laugh about the oddities of life. It helps to minimize one’s worries and fears, and enables an individual to confront problems with greater creativity and flexibility. Humor also helps to relax and engage an audience during a lecture or speech.
Hospital patients who receive humor therapy by watching comedies and “candid camera” reruns and by reading jokes are more relaxed and responsive, sleep better, and make fewer demands on the hospital staff. Dr Kathleen Dillon found that immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels in the saliva of college students increased significantly after they viewed 30 minute humorous videotapes. Furthermore, those who used humor as a way of coping with difficult life situations also had the highest initial IgA levels. She proposed that a consistently cheerful approach to life helped boost the immune system. Dr Lee Berk also found that watching humorous films produced a marked decrease in the stress hormone cortisol and a significant increase in immune cell activity. Health professionals have now realized the value of laughter to reduce pain, foster recovery, and brighten the outlook of life.
True Christians should be happy and joyful (Ps 68:3). Many years ago King Solomon wrote that happiness can do a lot of good like a medicine (Prov 17:22). Cheerfulness and contentment will produce positive effects upon our health. There is real value in remembering pleasant and humorous events from our past.
Author: Winston Craig, MPH, PhD, RD.
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