Tuesday 29 November 2011

Laughter is the Best Medicine

My daughter Jacqueline reminded me yesterday that laughter is the best medicine.  She said that if you laugh so hard that you cry, you likely won't get a cold for the next 45 hours.  My husband Rob watched some SCTV clips the other night and he had a great sleep, rather than his usual restless one.  Here are some facts about laughter and its benefits:

  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

  • (www.helpguide.org)

    In 1965, a Saturday Review writer named Norman Cousins was diagnosed with a debilitating spinal disease called ankylosing spndylistis.  His doctor gave him only a few months to live.  Rather than giving up, Mr. Cousins began a daily ritual of taking high doses of Vitamin C and watching comedy films.  He discovered that watching just 10 minutes of comedy would give him up to 2 hours of pain free sleep each night.  Not only did he find comfort in laughter, but he was able to regain the use of his limbs and eventually return to work.  He penned a book about his experienced called An Anatomy of an Illness.  Norman Cousins lived to a ripe old age, passing away in 1990.

    Children apparently laugh hundreds of times in the course of a day, but many adults barely crack a smile from dawn to dusk.  Here are some tips to help us see the lighter side of life:

    1.  Smile!
    2.  Spend time with happy people.
    3.  Tell funny stories to lighten the mood.
    4.  Introduce humour into the conversation when appropriate.
    5.  Share inside jokes with friends.
    6.  Seek out entertainment with humour.
    7.  Laugh at your own expense.
    8.  Be playful and silly.
    9.  Play board games with family or friends.
    10.  Spend time with children.


    E.E. Cummings says that "The most wasted of all days is the one without laughter."  So when your feet hit the floor tomorrow morning as you climb out of bed, put a smile on your face, think of a good joke and enjoy a hearty belly laugh.  It's infectious.  Before you know it, your entire family will be laughing right along with you.

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