I have often been told that laughter keeps my immune system humming by decreasing my stress hormones. It also boosts infection-fighting anti-bodies by keeping my blood vessels pumping. It protects my heart too. My gym instructor told me that laughter triggers a rush of those all-important endorphins that we all love to feel after a good workout.
The well-known journalist, Norman Cousins was diagnosed with a painful spinal condition and discovered that a regular diet of television comedies and candid camera episodes actually removed some of his pain. To quote: “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 well-needed pain-free sleep.’
The members of my support group drew up a list of what each of us should do to help brighten up our days and here are a few:
- Smile because it is the beginning of laughter, and like laughter, it is contagious.
- List your blessings. The simple act of considering the good things in my life, helped distance me from the negative thoughts that acted as a barrier to humor and laughter and consequently, to feeling good.
- Whenever I hear someone laugh, I move toward that person. Humor can be a shared joke among a small group of friends, but more often than not, everyone is happy to share something funny as it gives them the opportunity to laugh all over again.
- I try to spend time with fun people who laugh and smile easily, both at themselves and at life’s absurdities and tragedies, the kind of people who find humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view is often contagious.
- I try to bring humor into ordinary conversations simply by asking; ‘What is the funniest thing that happened to you today, this week, or even this month?’ My husband did this instinctively and I wish I could do it as easily.