Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shall We Dance?

"Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing." - William James

Ah. What would life be without laughter? I think few of us would disagree that laughter is a delightful, beneficial experience, especially for those of us who are dealing with chronic illness. But if you need further convincing of it's potential for healing, read this from Change Your Brain Change Your Body, by Daniel G. Amen, MD,  Harmony Books, New York, 2010, pg. 234:

"According to the University of California, Irvine's Professor Lee Berk, "If we took what we know about the medical benefits of laughter and bottled it up, it would require FDA approval." Laughter lowers the flow of dangerous stress hormones that suppress the immune system, raise blood pressure, and increase the number of platelets, which cause clots and potentially fatal coronary artery blockages. Laughter also eases digestion and soothes stomachaches, a common symptom of chronic stress. Plus, a good rollicking guffaw increases the release of endorphins, which makes you feel better and more relaxed. Laughter truly may be the best medicine when it comes to stress relief." (You can buy Dr. Amen's book here.)

I especially enjoyed the bit about FDA approval.

I love those nights when I go to bed with smile muscles tired from overuse. Days like those are truly a gift. But.....then there's those days that require some serious work to conjure up a chuckle, and it's times like those that I really appreciate all the sources of silliness that are so easily found out there on the interwebs. Places like Cute Overload, and I Can Has Cheezburger?, and I Has a Hotdog. Oo oo! And Awkward Family Photos, and Cake Wrecks, and Savage Chickens! I can waste hours looking at the goofy stuff but invariably end up laughing so loud and long that John comes to peer over my shoulder to see what is so hilarious. Fun - and now I don't have to feel as though I'm wasting my time.

It's therapeutic. Dr. Amen said so.

(Above delightful picture of a goat and goatherd dancing found on TLC's How Things Work, found here, which tells the lighthearted story about the discovery of coffee. The legend goes that an observant Ethiopian goatherd noticed that his goats became exceptionally frisky after eating the berries from a certain shrub. He snacked on a few and immediately saw the energetic benefits. Brilliant!)

1 comment:

stephanie said...

Sometimes I just force myself to laugh out loud (when I'm alone, of course) - I laugh and laugh and laugh a fake laugh, and after a few of those, it sounds so silly and goofy that I just start laughing, for real, at my goofiness. When I include my dog in this exercise, it's even more fun! Have you ever tried that? It works for me.