How much better I feel after watching a funny movie or spending some time with friends and having a good laugh. Even watching my pet’s antics gives me a giggle and brings me joy. (I have guinea pigs – some may even get a laugh out of that.) Somehow this lifts my spirits and takes my mind off my problems.
Norman Cousins found this out first hand. He had a very painful, life threatening condition called ankylosing spondylitis. Doctors held little hope for him, so he checked himself out of hospital and into a hotel. He watched Marx brothers films and TV sitcoms, and found that 10 minutes of belly laughter gave him 2 hours of pain free sleep.
If I ever go to the dentist again, instead of getting out the Panadol, I think I will break out my funniest DVD’s!
Last week we saw that laughter can indeed do us good, like medicine. It can help tone the abdominal muscles and improve blood flow to the intestines. See article here
Laughter is an immune system boosting medicine.
Laughter can also improve the immune system. Dr Lee Berk, of Loma Linda University School of Medicine, found that laughter:
Increases natural killer cells and T cells
These cells hunt down and destroy cells that are infected with germs or have become cancerous
antibodies increases the likelihood that infections will be attacked and expelled from the body
Happy people are more resistant to colds, according to a study in which subjects were deliberately infected with a virus.
Even though there is no ‘super’ pill that will boost our immune system, the Bible does say that a merry heart will do us good like a medicine. And laughing sure is a lot more fun than trying to get medicine down, and tastes better!
Even the Readers Digest has a section dedicated to Laughter, the Best Medicine. So is it really laughter that does us good, or something else?
Merry – from the Hebrew word simchah which means:
blithesomeness (a very big word which simply means lighthearted, merry, cheerful)
gladness, joy, pleasure, rejoicing
mirth (amusement, especially as expressed in laughter)
Well, we can see from the original text that laughter does indeed do us good, like a medicine.
Just to get you started, a belly laugh acts on the abdominal muscles, giving them a workout. Have you heard the saying, “laughed until my tummy hurts?” But before you give up the gym, it’s probably not enough to give you flat abs!
A good laugh can also massage your internal organs, improving blood supply to the intestines, causing healthier bowels. (Please tell me if that one works for you!)
Next week we will look at how laughter improves the immune system.
If you want a head start, check out the Giggles page.