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A Dose of Laughter

Studies show Solomon wasn’t pulling a fast one or writing an analogy when he said in Proverbs 17:22, “a cheerful heart is good medicine.” Norman Cousins, a well known author, professor and world peace advocate was diagnosed in 1964 with a debilitating spinal disease and was given one in 500 chances of survival. After checking himself into a hotel, rather than a hospital, Cousins began his own treatment which included large doses of Vitamin C and even larger doses of laughter. He watched comedy programs and movies, such as the Marx Brothers and found that the laughter produced chemicals which allowed him a few hours of pain free sleep. Eventually, the disease went into remission and he was able to return to work. After, he reported, “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.”
Laughter is not only natural and contagious, but it has the ability to heal, both emotionally and physically! Tense or sore? No problem, a good hearty laugh can relieve physical tension and stress, relaxing your muscles for up to 45 minutes! Do you get sick often? Quick solution, laugh! Laughter increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, therefore, improving your immunity to disease. As Norman Cousins found, laughter also releases endorphins which can temporarily relieve pain, all the while increasing blood flow, which can protect against heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
The emotional benefits of laughter are a little more obvious. Laughing relieves stress and enhances resilience for times to come. It comes down to decision. With most situations in life, you have the opportunity to see the worst or see the best. When the opportunity arises, choose to laugh. At yourself or in agreement with someone. It not only relieves your stress, but improves teamwork and the atmosphere around you.
There you have it, a free prescription from your doctor for laughter, several high doses a day, before, after and during a meal. Please don’t keep out of the reach of children, seeing as they are often experts on laughter and make life that much more rich. Instead, take your kids out, get a pet, grab the Sunday comics or gather around a funny movie and don’t stop laughing!

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