Saturday, February 7, 2015

Laugh It Off

My friends in Ethiopia each took a turn with the camera. Dragged from
home to home, served coffee and more, and lots of laughing involved.
  These kids have probably added years to my life, healthwise.

An ancient remedy, "Laughter does good like a medicine," is now scientifically proven.  

Norman Cousins, who suffered from inflammatory arthritis, claimed that ten minutes of hearty guffawing while watching Marx Brothers movies brought him two hours of pain-free sleep and that both inflammation and pain were significantly reduced.  It's in his book, Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient. 

Ok, that's pretty far outside what we might expect, no?

It's reasonable.  Look it up.  Research since Cousins wrote the book has shown that laughter ...
  1. reduces levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine, and dopamine
  2. increases health-enhancing hormones (such as endorphins), neurotransmitters, and infection-fighting antibodies; and 
  3. improves blood flow to the heart
—all resulting in greater relaxation and resistance to disease, as well as improved mood and positive outlook.  Laughter is depression's enemy.

Community actually works well for these folks.  They depend on each other for most things 
from help building their homes to supervising their children to hauling in the nets. And they 
laugh when I try to speak their language and they try to speak mine.  
Africa, and some of the world's nicest people.

So then, laughter is surprisingly healthy and helpful.

Interestingly, so are heartfelt tears, love, loving friends, proximity and affection, affirmation, and a healthy diet. Who knew?

At the other end of the spectrum, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, stress, selfishness, and fast food will erode your health.  And life.

Ancient wisdom; worth a second look.
Pv.17:22, for starters, and there's more where that came from.