“If people only knew the healing power of laughter and joy, many of our fine doctors would be out of business.” —Catherine Ponder
Have you ever noticed how much better you feel when you burst out laughing? It’s as if your whole body is in harmony with the world. You radiate joy, fun, and excitement—and sometimes you act just plain silly. Think back to your childhood when you laughed uncontrollably at every opportunity and it felt awesome! Now that we’re older, we naturally feel better when our friends make us laugh or something funny happens. I truly believe that laughter is the best medicine and that it can cure almost anything that ails us.
I injured a tendon a while back and was having trouble walking. I felt frustrated . . . not to mention I live in three-story townhome! Rather than let this get me down, I thought back to my childhood and decided to add laughter my health regimen. I did Reiki treatments and stretched the tendon carefully each day; whenever it came back with pain, I laughed. I kept myself uplifted, and it healed in only three weeks, which was much quicker than expected.
Many amazing studies have been done on the power of laughter in curing illnesses. Just Google this subject and you’ll see articles written by Dr. Deepak Chopra, Mayo Clinic, WebMD, and much more. Norman Cousins authored a famous book in 1979 called Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Healing. Cousins was diagnosed with a terminal illness and was given little chance of survival. He used laughter as a part of his recovery program. “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep,” he reported. An adjunct professor for the School of Medicine at UCLA, Cousins later performed research on the biochemistry of human emotions. He believed positive emotions—including laughter—were the key to our success in fighting illness. He recovered fully from his terminal diagnosis.
Are you aware of the known physiological benefits of laughter, as well? Laughter increases the blood flow and oxygen in the heart and lungs; it releases endorphins, making us feel more relaxed; it reduces the negative effects of stress hormones and boosts our immunity with neuropeptides; it combats depression; and it reduces our perception of pain. Whew! Apparently giggling is quite good for us.
Today, I ask you to take control of your health and laugh . . . read a funny book or blog, watch a hysterical movie or video clip, tell a joke to a friend, watch a cat or dog playing, or sing in the shower at the top of your lungs. Focus on finding a laughable moment every day. Even laughing at yourself can be healthy at times. Burst into a real, deep belly laugh . . . or into a fit of giggles! How good does that feel?
Remember that life should be funny, and no matter what illness you might be fighting—laughter is the best medicine. Have a heartfelt laugh today, my friends!