User:Ran H/bagrut project/Humor-Health

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How Does Humor Effects Our Health

(Front Page)

How Does Humor Effects Our Health?

Name: Ran Hadar

Teacher's Name: Nellie Deutsch

School Name: Ort Guttman

Date: March 2009

Table of Contents



How does humor affect our health? --------------------------5







Humor is a powerful emotional medicine and can lower stress, reduce anger and unite families that are going through some difficult times.

It also helps us to avoid loneliness by making connections with other people who are attracted to people who are genuinely cheerful. In addition, the good feeling we get afterwards can remain with us as an internal experience even after we stop laughing.

Mental health professionals say that humor can teach perspective by helping patients to see reality instead of the distortion that supports their distress. It changes the way we think and distress is related to the way we think. Our stress isn’t caused by the situation but by the meaning that we give to it. Humor adjusts the meaning of invent in a way in which it is not so overwhelming.

Examples of how laughter benefits mental health:

-Humor increases our ability to connect with others. -Humor helps us to replace stressful emotions with feelings that please us. We can’t feel angry, depressed, anxious, guilty or resentful while we experience humor. -Humor changes our behavior because when we experience humor we talk more, make more eye contact, touch etc. -Humor pumps up our energy and with increased energy we may do some things that we would usually avoid.

It is also important to note that humor is good for mental health because it simply makes us feel good.


Many scientists have studied the affects humor and laughter have on our health. Many of them spent many years proving what is now well-known among the scientific community- using humor and laughing improve our lives and make it that much better.

Dr. William Fray dedicated thirty years of his life for a research of the potential healing power of humor, laughter and gayness. In an interview he gave in 1991 he said: “humor can change a person. It has two steps; a healthy irritation and a deep relaxation”.

Dr. Fray says that laughter is like a good aerobic exercise. It vents the lungs and relaxes the muscles and nerves. His research shows that laughter thrusters the heart’s function, raises the blood pressure, escalates the breathing, intensifies the oxygen’s acceptance and its relies.

A patient named Kazins became ill with a sudden disease which hurt his spine column and caused degeneration of his body organs. On December 1976 he wrote an article where he told about his amazing recovery which began in a discovery, saying a that 10 minutes of a real and full laughter had a relaxing effect which provided him a two hour sleep with no pain.

A research conducted to measure the sugar levels in the blood after a meal had found that subjects who watched 40 minutes of comedy had a lower sugar level in their blood than subjects who watched a boring lecture.

Charles Darwin wrote a paper research in 1872, where he claimed that when we laugh our blood circulation becomes faster, our eyes shine more and our face becomes more colorful.

It turns out that laughter causes Adrenaline and Noradrenalin to allocate and also releases Dopamine which both raise our blood circulation. In addition, Endorphins are released and they serve as pain killers, decrease infections and enhance healing procedures.


How Does Humor Affect Our Health?

Several studies have been made in order to research the effects of humor on our physical health. These studies have shown numerous results in many aspects, such as:

Muscle Relaxation

There was a study that showed that people who used a biofeedback apparatus were able to have their muscles relaxed quicker after watching a funny TV show than others who looked at beautiful scenery. An example for this is a routine that one doctor has, in which he gets everybody in a room doing belly laughter for a half a minute. After that he asks them to tell what kind of changes they experience in their bodies and their first comments are that they feel more relaxed.

Reduction of Stress Hormones

The limited research on stress hormones and humor has shown that laughter boosts up at least four neuroendocrine hormones has to do with the stress response, including epinephrine, cortisol, dopac, and growth hormone.

Immune System Enhancement

In the middle of the 80’s researchers began studying the impact of humor and laughter on the immune system. The thing that shows the best that humor boosts the immune system comes from studies where immune system measures are taken before and after a particular humorous event, usually a comedy video. A research showing that individuals with a better sense of humor have stronger immune systems is also significant, because it shows that it is important to improve your sense of humor.

Cellular Immunity

B cells are produced in the bone marrow, and are responsible for making the immunoglobulin (a part of our immune system which serves to protect us against upper respiratory problems, like a cold or flu). If we count the existence of these cells in our blood before and after a funny video, we can show the important increase in the number of B cells circulating throughout the body following humor. If we watch a humorous video for one hour it increases the activity of natural killer cells, the number and level of activation of helper T-cells, and the ratio of helper to suppresser T-cells. Natural killer cells have the role of finding and destroying cancer cells in the body.

Pain Reduction

Norman Cousins drew the attention of the medical community to the pain-reducing power of humor in his book Anatomy of an Illness. This spinal disease left him in almost constant pain. While watching comedy films he found that belly laughter decreased his pain. In his last book, Head First: The Biology of Hope, he noted that 10 minutes of belly laughter would give him two hours of pain-free sleep. The reason for this is that humor draws attention away from the pain, at least momentarily. The most commonly given explanation, however, is that laughter causes the production of endorphins, one of the body’s natural pain killers.

Other Examples

Laughter also provides an excellent source of heart exercise. If we put our hand over our heart when we stop laughing full belly laughter, we will see that our heart is racing. It will remain this way for 3-5 minutes. This has caused some to refer to laughter as "internal jogging." Another example is of a physician that noted that his patients who say they laugh regularly have lower resting heart rates. Laughter may help lower blood pressure. Since our heart beats more rapidly during laughter, it pumps more blood through the blood system and produces the familiar flushed cheeks.

A Good Laugh Is Enough!

Have you ever paid attention to people around you? Those in the street or those in your class. Some are happy, others are sad. Each person lives his life the way he wants. Life is full of events, both positive and negative, that cause us either to laugh or to cry.

Once I saw a boy in the street who was crying, and somehow I realized that he felt like bursting into tears and he was very unhappy at that moment. It turned out that somebody had stolen his ball, and other kids didn't want him to play with them.

I felt I had to solve the problem. All I did was talk to him, I asked him what had happened and he told me the whole story. I cheered him up and made him laugh, he was over the moon and he felt better. Then I talked to those kids who agreed to reconcile with the boy immediately.

You should have seen the child's face changing! His tears dried up and a broad smile appeared instead. It shone on his face as a bright sun! And I thought that a person doesn't need much to be happy, just some attention and a couple of kind words. Is it so hard to do?


During the making of the project, I have expanded my knowledge on humor and the ways it affects out health.

At the very beginning of the work process, I did not expect to find out that humor and laughter have such a great impact on medical condition.

It was surprising to find out that laughter boosts up the levels of different substances in our body such as growth hormone (which is responsible for stimulating growth and cell reproduction) and endorphins (which are known as the body's natural pain killers). Humor also improves our mental health as it is a good way to handle negative emotions.

The knowledge I have earned while writing the project has certainly influenced me. Now that I know how vital laughter is to both my body and soul, I will never give up on it!


I enjoyed working on my project, mostly because I like the topic I chose- humor and its effects on our health.

I’ve learned about the effects humor and laughter have on our physical and mental health. Now I know that it is scientifically proved that laughter is good for our health. As a result of making this project, I am more aware of the positive effect laughter has on us not only physically but also socially. My biggest benefit from the project is that I strongly believe that because of this project I will subconsciously laugh more and when I do it will be “full belly laughter”.

My favorite part of the working process is the most amusing part- looking for jokes on the internet and different books I have found. I think that because I read a lot of articles I've improved my reading and translating skills. It was really fun.


Survey Title: How Does Humor Effects Our Health?


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In order to prepare this project I have used the following websites: