Norman Cousins, a world famous author, professor, political journalist, peace activist, and recipient of the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, swore in his landmark book, Anatomy of an Illness, that laughter was the key to his recovery from a debilitating disease in which the body’s collagen is destroyed. Cousins was in constant pain, and it is said that he reported that only ten minutes of belly laughter gave him two hours of pain-free sleep, when morphine did not help him. He abandoned traditional Western medicine for high doses of vitamin C and The Marx Brothers. And he outlived all his doctors’ predictions, and was able to reverse his high stress levels.
Have you ever had a day during which you were crabby and anxious, and yet one funny moment was able to change your entire day? Laughter increases your endorphin level, and by the way, also boosts your immune system. It relieves stress, relaxes tight muscles, makes you feel lighter and, indeed, better. It is, all by itself, a game changer!
Kimm and I spend much of the time laughing, and I believe that has a lot to do with how easy going each of us is, and how we process life’s challenges. Kimm is hilarious! Her family stories constantly have me ROFLMAO! And I am no slouch either. I can be NY Jew funny too. Laughter is a big part of our relationship,which would not be the same without it. Our landlady even once commented that she always hears laughter coming from our little casita. And she’s right.
I believe that laughter can save our lives, and indeed the planet. It, like music, is a great unifier. It dissolves our differences and makes us One. It releases so much angst of both the body and the mind, and lifts us higher than ourselves. And the beauty of it, is that you can do it anywhere! In your car, in line at the market, on your treadmill, on the toilet – anywhere! Other people might think you are a bit weird, but what the hell! It is unbounded joy that can come to us at any time and in any situation. It tickles us in special places, areas of mind/body that we are not even aware of.
It is my fondest wish that you get in a good, deep, belly laugh today and everyday. And if you don’t believe me that laughter is the best medicine, read Anatomy of an Illness by Norman Cousins. It is a revelation! I know Kimm and I will be laughing ourselves silly as we always do. Well into our dotage! (I’m the crone on the left. More wrinkles and no teeth!)