Laughter and your Health

Did you know that one minute of laughter equals three quarters of relaxing? Laughter inspires life! For centuries it has been said that laughter is the best medicine. If you laugh well you will be in a position to live well. Facial expressions do affect personality and states of mind. If we put on an expression of serenity, we will become serene. If we keep smiling, we will sooner or later become happy.

I once heard a story about a man named Tim Dawn. He was a nasty, evil man who fell in love with a very beautiful girl named Jane. She had said that she would only love a person who had the face of a saint. This was bad news for Tim as he resembled the devil. He was desperate as he found he could not live without the love of Jane. He then bought a mask with the expression she wanted and stuck it on so that it could not come off. – Jane fell in love with him and they got married and lived happily in an idyllic cottage in the country.

One day a former lady love of Tim met him and recognised him. She tore off the mask and Tim thought all was lost. However, while wearing the mask, Tim’s face had transformed into the very look of the mask he had been wearing. – What about scientific evidence? There is a great deal of evidence to back up the importance of facial expressions. A French physiologist called Israel Waynbaum has a web site where it says, “Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects”. American scientists tested his theory and found that when a person for example began to smile, the heart rate decreased, the blood pressure went down and the body systems were relaxed.

What about using the function of smiling and laughter to reduce stress and tension? Unnecessary stress is caused by fear. When we produce too many stress hormones, the immune system does not work properly. Smiling and laughter can be effective weapons to attack the vicious cycle of fear and stress. Have you ever tried to lift something when you are laughing? You probably find you are unable to produce the strength to do the lifting. The reason for this is that when you laugh you lose control and relax.

A man was suffering from a painful and disabling condition of his muscles. His doctor predicted a long and crippling disease. After treatment in hospital, the man decided to leave the hospital. He went to a hotel and hired a number of comedy films and laughed all day. Over a period of time, his symptoms abated and his diease resolved itself. His laughter provided a cure in a situation where medicine had failed. This result is described in Dr Brian Roet’s book “All in the Mind”.

I once attended a session with Helene Grover, the author of “Laugh Aerobics”. She has a basic exercise called “Tee hee, Ha ha”. The purpose is to make a lot of noise like the sounds we use for laughter and to throw limbs and trunk energetic into the movements as if you were doing aerobics. – Raise your arms, one at a time, above your head and punch in the air shouting “Tee hee”. Place your arms quickly to your sides. Then throw your arms up to shoulder level and shout “Ha, ha”. Place your hands on your hips, turn to the right and shout “Hee, hee”, do the same to the left. Lower your arms while you raise your knees one at a time, slapping each and saying “Ho, ho”. To finish, you press your finger on top of your head, pirouetting as you say “Tee hee, Ha ha, Hee hee, Ho ho”. If you do the exercise quickly and loudly, you get a better work-out.

If you need to look at yourself in a less serious way, Paul Wilson gives an example in his book “Instant calm”. He suggests you go to an enclosed photo booth, draw the curtains, insert you money, and take a deep breath. You then pull four of the most ridiculous faces you can produce. You now have photographs to look at when you feel stress and the weight of the world on your shoulders.

The family who laughs together, stays together! How can you bring about laughter when family or friends get together? When you have a birthday party, you could ask each person to bring a funny story. You could also have joke books and riddles, watch funny videos, place cartoons at each table setting and swap them during the meal. Here are a few points you may like:

I have learned to laugh at my problems – everybody else does.

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.

Dear Lord – help me to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.

I used to think I was indecisive – but now I am not so sure.

A man went into a bank and asked the cashier to check his balance. So the cashier pushed him over.

Patient: “Can you recommend anything for yellow teeth?” Dentist: “A brown tie.”

A man walked into a doctor’s office with a lettuce leaf sticking out of his ear. The doctor said: “Hmmmm, that’s strange.” The man said: “That is just the tip of the iceberg.”

When I get lost, I don’t panic, I just change where it is I want to go.

Nothing makes you lose your sense of humour faster, than someone asking you where it is.

Keep up your great sense of humour and stay healthy. You can collect jokes from many places, also the internet. Look at the bright side of life, have fun and a wonderful Christmas!

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