Written by Mary-Anne Reed
Monday, 22 June 2009 19:00
How busting up can give you a boost!Like an apple, 12 laughs a day keeps the doctor away. Laughter is on the table as a prescription for promoting better physical and emotional health ... even curing disease.
In a recent health study, not laughing enough was one of three primary reasons people can’t cope in life. (The other two are low self esteem and living in the past.)
Other studies show that laughter:
- Releases endorphins, helping us to feel good
- Provides an aerobic exercise effect, similar to jogging
- Encourages better communication
- Boosts the immune system
- Improves digestion, respiration and circulation
- Helps to promote positive attitudes
- Encourages creativity
- Relaxes the whole body
- Reduces stress
In 1983 Norman Cousins published his best selling book, “Anatomy of an Illness.” Cousins, former editor-in-chief of the Saturday Review in New York, was diagnosed with degenerative spine disease in 1964. In his best selling book he details his recovery from this deadly disease.
Cousins attributed his cure to laughter. Instead of going to a hospital, he checked himself into a hotel and watched the famous Marx Brothers' movies. His symptoms receded and he began researching laughter for its therapeutic value. Eventually Cousins focus helped to start a new area of medicine known as Psychoneuroimmunology, the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body.
Cousins died in 1990, but his contribution to Psychoneuroimmunology, psychosomatic medicine and the mind body connection are well known and respected world wide.
In Massachusetts a therapy group uses laughter to change their lives. The Arlington Laughter Club, run by Massachusetts General Hospital in Revere, meets twice a month at the Church of Our Savior.
During the meetings, members warm up slowly to laughter. First they share about why they aren’t laughing. Might be foreclosure, depression, loneliness. But then the whole group begins to laugh about it all.
Although nothing in particular is funny, the laughter releases pent up negative emotions and increases immunity and good feelings, reduces stress, and calms them down — even when they fake it.
So start today to find reasons to laugh. If you can’t find any, laugh anyway.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 June 2009 19:58