Monday, December 16, 2013


By Kate Collins

Is there anything better than a good belly laugh? The kind where you hold your sides, wipe your eyes, and rub the muscles in your face because they hurt?  Seriously, when was the last time you did that?  Did you know that doing so boosted your immune system and reduced your risk of serious illness?

Research reported in Scientific American (Nov 27, 2013) has shown once again that laughter is indeed the best medicine. Why? Not only is it therapeutic, but it has no side effects! What drug manufacturer can say that? (How about none?) But even a normal laugh will work wonders. You needn’t split your sides to get the health benefits. Just be happy.

One of the most famous forerunners of “the science of happiness” was Norman Cousins, who had been diagnosed with a life-threatening autoimmune disease. After being given a one in 500 chance of recovery, Cousins created a laughter therapy program, which he believes was the key to his ultimate recovery.
Cousins went on to establish the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology in Los Angeles, California. You can read about his journey back to health in his book, Anatomy of an Illness.

And despite studies that show positive benefits of happiness, conventional medicine is still hesitant to admit that a person’s emotional state might have any major impact on overall health and longevity.

Isn’t that silly?

Why wouldn’t your emotions and mental state affect your health? It’s already well-known that stress can take a tremendous toll on your health. Yet conventional scientists frown on the idea that emotions such as “happiness” or “joy” would make any difference. It makes me want to smack them upside the head.

My favorite TV shows and movies are comedies. My favorite friends have great senses of humors. When my family gets together, we vie to make each other laugh. And the first thing that attracted me to my beloved husband was his wicked wit. He could crack me up with just a glance. In fact, I love to laugh so much that I even make my mysteries humorous.

Do you believe in the power of laughter? Are you generally a happy person? What kinds of things make you laugh?