Friday, January 6, 2012

" Laughter ... "

A laugh for the way my life has gone
A laugh for the love of a friend
A laugh for the fools in the eyes of the world
The love that will never end
A laugh for the newsprint nightmare
A world that never was
Where the questions are all "why?"
And the answers are all "because."
~ Bruce Cockburn ~ Laughter

You may have read that laughter is good for the body ... laughter heals.  Recently I read that when you start laughing, your body chemistry changes, your physiology changes, and your chances to experience happiness are much greater.  If you watch children, they laugh more frequently, in a playful manner.  And they laugh with their bodies not their minds.  Most adults laugh with our minds, we use judgements and evaluations about what’s funny and what isn’t.  Maybe we put too much thought into our laughter, maybe we are too serious, maybe we just need to play again.
Laughter can aid many people with life-threatening illnesses.  Studies have shown that ten minutes a day of belly laughs have an anesthetic effect.  The healing power of laughter.  How is this possible?  Well laughter increases circulation, stimulates the immune system, exercises the muscles, and invigorates the brain.  As well, other researchers have found that laughter can reduce stress hormones ... prevention in most dis-eases.  And according to one of my doctors, fake laughter can have the same beneficial effects ... the body has a hard time distinguishing fake from real laughter. 
So how do you laugh when nothings funny?  Start by opening your mouth into a wide smile and force your breath out.  You may feel a bit silly at first, but that is okay, the make-believe version often transforms into the real thing and it becomes more natural.  A simple experiment you can try is when sitting in traffic or feeling upset, laugh yourself out of it ... start with a fake laugh and you will be surprised how quickly your laughter will turn genuine.  Maybe just the thought of sitting there by yourself, faking a laugh will make it real ... just another way to relieve tension.  After practicing this on a daily basis, eventually your belly will ache from exertions and if nothing else, you will probably end up making someone else genuinely laugh hopefully with and not at you.

The most wasted of days is one without laughter ~ E.E. Cummings

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