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The Seriousness of Laughter

  • Date Submitted: 03/24/2010 06:01 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 65.3 
  • Words: 450
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Norman Cousins was diagnosed with an illness and told that he had little chance of surviving it. Put in a hospital room to die, he rejected that diagnosis and took matters into his own hands. He started mega dosing on Vitamin C and put himself on a daily regimen of good old fashioned belly laughing. He was convinced that a positive attitude including MUCH laughter help the body heal.

In his book, Anatomy of an Illness Cousins writes: "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. When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, we would switch on the motion picture projector again and not infrequently, it would lead to another pain-free interval."

Norman Cousins loved watching the Marx Brothers and his laughter could be heard up and down the hospital corridors. Occasionally other patients would complain and the nursing staff would have to ask Cousins to quiet down. Norman Cousins lived 16 years longer than his doctors predicted.

Readers Digest ran an issue dedicated to humor and laughter. They made some very important summaries:

o Laughter reduces stress, improves memory and helps keep our hearts healthy.
o Lightheartedness can lead to a more positive approach in everyday situations.
o Laughing for 10-15 minutes increases your heart rate by 10%-20%, burning an extra 10-40 calories a day, which over one year could add up to a four-pound weight loss.
o A UCLA study found that children tolerated pain better than usual when watching a funny program or video.
o Humor increases the production and effectiveness of natural killer cells that stomp out germs. These cells are elevated for at least 12 hours after just an hour of watching a funny movie or show.

As an ancient proverb says: A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

So take laughing seriously! It can improve your health and help you live...


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