Years ago there was a story about a guy who had a terminal disease, but determined to cure himself through laughter. His name is Norman Cousins. He was the editor of Saturday Review for 30 years and wrote a book entitled, “Anatomy of an Illness.” He spent his days watching Laurel and Hardy movies and other comedy films that made him laugh. The amazing thing is that he was healed and he credits his healing to laughter. Look up Norman Cousins on the internet.
The Maryland Medical Center found that laughing is almost as effective as exercise for improving arterial health. So when you go to the gym, find a comfortable chair and watch the sweat hogs pumping iron and popping hemorrhoids, the fat guys trying to tie their shoes and the young gong-ho beginners throwing a subtle flex and sucking in their gut while glancing furtively and seemingly inconspicuously in the mirror as they walk by. Just don’t let anyone see you laugh. That’s the tricky part.
Sitting where you can also see the young ladies jogging on the treadmill is an additional benefit in terms of exercising the eye muscles and increasing peripheral vision, but that must be weighed against a possible increase in stress. But back to laughter…
Laughter relaxes blood vessels and improves circulation to the heart and it lowers cortisol, a hormone related to stress. The reason it works is that it reduces stress and stress will compromise your immune system. There are other ways of reducing stress, including exercise, having a dog or cat, prayer and other things, but laughing is fun.
In short, laughter is good for you. Do it whenever you can.
Life is full to the brim with pain, sadness, sickness, cruelty, disasters, mentally ill and stupid political leaders and a myriad of negative events that can bury you emotionally. Yogi Berra said, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” I say, “If you get a chance to laugh, take it!”