We’ve all heard about the benefits of laughter. But how often do we consciously use laughter to relieve our suffering? Physical, mental, emotional, we take a pill. Spiritual, we pray. All useful at times, but laughter can eliminate some of our needs. Why do you think we’ve been given this gift? Duh!! It’s there for us to use. But sometimes we need proof that something works before we use it.
Scientific evidence for the healing power of laughter is irrefutable. Many of us are familiar with Norman Cousins and his book, Anatomy of an Illness, in which he describes how watching funny movies helped him recover from many years of pain with a serious illness. And David Simon, M. D. with the Chopra Center writes that, “From the scientific perspective, laughter is an elegant mind-body phenomenon that reduces the production of stress hormones and boosts the immune system. Humor can decrease anxiety, soften anger, lighten depression, and increase our pain tolerance. Also, you don’t need to be in a good mood all the time–you just need at least one good belly laugh every day.”
“As long as you can laugh at yourself, you will never cease to be amused.” ~Unknown
I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor. D. H. Lawrence. I especially like this quote, because when I was young that’s exactly what I did to release my anger. Then I sat on the floor in the puddles of water, laughed at myself, and felt much better. That was all the proof I needed. But over the years there have been times when my faith had to be rekindled. And sometimes, for me, my poetry helps. I wrote the following poem during one of those times.
I find that when I hurt inside,
I can make a joke and find a laugh.
It comes from yet a different place,
Along my weary path.
Laughter drives away the tears,
And calms the hurt below.
It frees my soul to feel alive
Where I think angels go.
God knew I’d need this useful tool
To lift me high above the dark,
So I can see the truth of life,
And find that vital spark.
Thank you, Lord, for quips and giggles,
For making light of strife and pain,
For finding fun in spite of trial
To find my joyful way again.
It’s not easy to laugh when you’re hurting with physical illness, mental anguish, emotional pain, or a spiritual need. It all hurts. And at the time, you may feel that nothing can help. So you don’t try. That’s why a daily laughter habit is important to train your inner child to naturally laugh again.
“If you’re laughing, you’re healing.” ~Gangaji
1. Every day funny things happen around us, but we’re too busy to notice. And we don’t think about laughing. Sooo make a list and create your own funny situations. You know yourself. Be creative.
2. We’re all different, so what things would make ‘you’ laugh? You might watch funny movies, be around people who laugh, practice laughing out loud for no reason, make silly faces at yourself in the mirror, watch children and animals playing. Whatever suits you.
3. Then each day, choose one thing from your list, and laugh. You can throw in a few teehees during the day, but you need a good hard belly laugh down to your toes. And while you’re laughing, feel it…feel it…feel it all over. And be aware of the many ways you’re being healed.
Life really is a gift. And so is our ability to laugh. Have fun, and be healthy.
I wish you a belly laugh every day.
Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer