Laugh And Be Healed

Ever been in one of those really down moods when everything seems to be going wrong? Your job is the job from hell, you got on the scale this morning to find you've put on another five pounds, your teenage kids have wrecked the car, eaten you out of house and home and complain their rights are being violated when you ask them to turn their rap music down. Woe is me!

Well, needless to say we can't change other peoples' behavior. Yes, indeed they may need an attitude adjustment and you'd like to be the one to give it to them, right between the eyes, but you go to jail for those kinds of things so that's not really an option­­ unless three squares and a padded cell appeals to you­­ which at times might not seem so bad, feeling like you're already caged; at least there they would feed me.

So what can one do to ease the discomfort? Diffusing a situation with laughter, giving a light touch not only helps them, it will make you feel better too.

Humor and laughter has been a hotly debated topic in healing over the past two decades. The famous author, Norman Cousins, in his landmark book Anatomy Of An Illness, told his own story of how humor positively effected him. Diagnosed with Ankylosising Spondylitis, a painfully debilitating condition of the spinal cord, he found that when his friends came in and he could laugh the pain would let up. So while hospitalized he would have the nurses play old movies of the Marx Brothers and the belly laughing would bring him a couple of hours of pain relief. He defied all the odds and lived many more quality years after his diagnosis was considered intimately terminal.

The effects of laughter on the human body is not fully understood but here are some facts. Hard laughter that comes from the belly has been shown to work like an internal massage. Laughter has been scientifically proven to increase endorphines­­ brain chemicals that make us feel good and relieve pain. People who laugh more than frown have fewer facial wrinkles; it takes only 14 muscles to smile, and 72 to frown.

Here are a couple of belly busters that may help you laugh instead of cry.

My first client came in the other day and as I started a massage for her, I said "Gee Kathy your shoulder muscles are so tight." Her reply "Oh that's good. Everything is sagging!"

Susan Voss says she takes her neighbor, Grace, 94, to the grocery store weekly. Last week Susan commented to Grace that she seemed a little down and what was the matter? Grace replies "Well, my husband and I are getting a divorce." Susan says "Gee Grace, couldn't you have figured it out before this; 70 years is a long time." Grace's reply, "Well, we were waiting for the kids to die."

A sign on the office door at a small pub my daughter and I ate at while vacationing on Catalina Island last month: "I have PMS, I have a gun­­ Any questions?"

Humor is everywhere. We do sometimes have to look for it; other times it just finds us. I hope you find something humorous in your path today.

Till next time, Rebecca.

This article posted to Zephyr online October 24, 1997
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