Positive Effects of Humor on Health and Well-being: Incorporating Theories Into a Healthcare Setting
Norman Cousins sparked interest in humor research when he wrote a book in 1979 about overcoming a serious illness by focusing on positive emotions and laughing. This paper discusses his experiences and many of the findings from subsequent studies examining humor physiology. It also includes discourse on untested theories about the benefits of laughter for mental and physical health. Combining these elements reveals how humor can affect the mind and the body, specifically the immune system. Based on these findings, the paper then highlights a model showing how these principles can be used in hospital settings to reduce staff stress and aid patient recovery.