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Healing Through Laughter

By Dr. Stein


A senior couple is invited over by another senior couple. After dinner, the two women go into the kitchen and the two guys stay and talk.

"Joe, last night we went to an incredible restaurant. You’ll enjoy it, if you ever go there."

His friend says, "What’s the name?"

"I wish I could tell you the name, but I forgot." Then after a while he says, "You know that flower you give to your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day?"

"You must mean a rose?"

Joe nodded his head while turning to the kitchen, "Yes, that’s it. Hey Rose, what’s the name of the restaurant we ate at last night?"

Well, did I get a chuckle, or at least a smile, out of you?

When was the last time that you really laughed? I mean laughed – where you had to hold on to your belly and tears were running down your face when you were done? The laugh that is almost embarrassing in public, but hurts so good. Come to think of it, some of the best times I have had in my life included that kind of laugh. Laughing is good for us.

On the average we laugh between 10 to 20 times per day. We used to laugh more when we were younger. According to Alan and Barbara Pease, in their book The Definite Book Of Body Language, we laugh up to 400 times daily as a toddler. I see many little ones who seem to smile and giggle all the time. Lucky them! They walk around carefree and just enjoy the world. We adults often worry about stuff we have no control over anyway. The result is that we laugh less.

So what does laughing exactly do? Laughing stimulates the output of your endorphins. These are chemicals that we produce ourselves and are our body’s natural painkillers. Endorphins also boost our immune system, which helps fight off infections.

Haven’t you heard of people who were diagnosed with some horrific disease and they ended up renting every imaginable funny movie they could get their hands on? And then, after weeks of laughing they would go back to their doctor who would shrug his shoulders and declare them healed.

I personally haven’t done any research on laughing, but laughing seems to improve one’s health. I also notice grumpy people getting sick more often – or they tell you about it more often. Anyway, there seems to be something to it. So, the next time someone tells you a joke, lean back and enjoy. Take it all in, not just the words. Take in the smile of the person who tells the joke. If you laugh, they will too. I guess they are right when they say: laughing is contagious!

So let’s try one more time.

A woman enters the doctor’s office after her husband had his check-up. The doctor tells the wife, "Your husband has a horrible disease and the slightest amount of stress could kill him. You need to fulfill his every wish. Don’t let him do any chores in and around the house. All his meals should be prepared with love and don’t trouble him with any problems. Also there can’t be any complaining anymore. As a matter of fact, you need to give him relaxing back rubs at all times to keep his stress level low. If you can keep this up for a few months, he will live."

On the way home the husband asked his wife, "So what did the doctor say?"

She replied, "He said you’re going to die."



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