Laughing and humor are proven to be good for our health. When we laugh, endorphins – “happy hormones” – are released and the reward center in our brain is activated. In addition, following a fit of laughter more antibodies and fewer stress hormones are present in the blood. More recent research shows that humor also has a positive effect on our physical health. It can help counteract diabetes and asthma, and it makes us less susceptible to pain: People who watch funny films have fewer aches and pains. One of the studies leading to this conclusion looked at the use of mild painkillers after an operation: “Patients who watched comedy shows needed fewer painkillers than those who watched a documentary film – but only if they actually found the comedy show funny!” says UZH psychologist Jennifer Hofmann.
Humor is good for mind and body. Hofmann’s colleague Willibald Ruch therefore can’t understand why there are still some people who have a negative attitude towards humor. He thinks such people should take notice of the findings of humor research which clearly show the great value of humor.