William Hepfner, TH.D
Laughter is a Healing Medicine
One of the more important things in life is the ability to laugh. Do you remember the last time you laughed so hard it brought tears to your eyes? You simply couldn’t stop the laughter, no matter how hard you tried. This last weekend I was out dancing with friends, and even though I like to think myself to be a pretty decent dancer, there is a few times I go into, what I call, ‘goofy’ mode; and I’m pretty sure it’s because I love to laugh and I enjoy watching others laugh also. So here we are, already having a pretty decent time, when all of a sudden a country song throws me into my, so-called, ‘goofy’ mode.
At this point, I must be completely honest. Everyone on the dance floor looked pretty silly anyway trying to kick and bop to this song, thereby enticing yours truly to do his famous Irish jig (think Riverdance); along with a few other great dance moves the average Joe would be afraid to make. Okay, so I’m no average Joe. Standing straight and tall, hands and arms stiff to my side, mocking the quick tap dance moves with my flip-flops, a kick to the front and a kick in the back. It lasted all but a minute, which was enough to start a chain reaction amongst those who know me and saw me. Everyone started laughing uncontrollably. And when I say uncontrollably, I mean we all had tears coming to our eyes and it took a while just to calm down. I was laughing with embarrassment, and they were laughing at my famous Irish jig or, they were laughing because they were embarrassed for me. Whatever the case, it felt really good to bring so much health into the lives of my friends. You’ve heard the popular saying that ‘laughter is a healing medicine’? Did you know that modern medicine is discovering more and more about the therapeutic dimensions of laughter, and now is encouraging us to add it to our wellness program? Just imagine that you are down to your last nerve, your muscles are cooked, your hair is clenched, you have lockjaw, you don't feel much like breathing, your heart beats only when it can find the time, and your head is auditioning for a part in High Anxiety!
Laughter has been called a ‘social glue’ because it bonds us to the people we laugh with.
You make an appointment with your doctor and you tell him that life's got it in for you; the universe quite simply doesn't want to involve you in its plans. So your doctor reaches for the pill pad, writes something, rips the sheet from the pad, and hands you a prescription; not for tranquilizers or anti-depressants, but for ... laughter! Do you remember the last time you really laughed? Laughed so hard the milk you were drinking came out your nose? Do you remember? How long ago was it? Maybe you have those regular headaches because of the lack of laughter in your life. Is it possible your heart beats irregular because the laughter left years ago? Doctors are now saying that laughter can do the following things for you:
Lower blood pressure.
Increase the oxygen level in the blood, giving more energy.
Increase the endorphin activity in the body resulting in a sense of well being.
It helps keep things in perspective.
It banishes boredom.
It makes one more socially attractive - people enjoy being with those who laugh easily and often.
Immeasurably increases the enjoyment of life.
Laughter has been called a ‘social glue’ because it bonds us to the people we laugh with. Someone once said, “If it feels good to laugh, then laugh to feel good.” Do you need to laugh? If you said, “Yes”, then it’s time to find a friend who has a ‘goofy’ mode. After you find that friend, you need to enjoy their company often. The best laughter is found amongst good friends. Go laugh! Take pleasure in life! Enjoy health!