“A day without laughter is a day wasted” I am sure that we can all agree that humour and laughter are a big help in getting through our hectic days. They tend to boost our energy and give us that lift that relieves the boredom of routine tasks and responsibilities.
However, things have changed over the years, and humour and laughter are on the decline in most of our lives.
Recent survey data shows that 64% of people smile less than 20 times a day at home, and 72% of people smile less than 20 times a day at work.
A study by the International Congress of Humor found that laughter is down 66 – 82% worldwide of what it was in the ’50s. This means a decline of an average of 75%.
In the 1950s people laughed on the average 18 times a day. Today, we average a little 4 – 6 times a day. A recent study found that North Americans hadn’t had a laugh for weeks on end.
If you had the opportunity to watch the movie ‘Patch Adams,’ you know that this physician not only believed in humour but that he practised it at every chance going from the premise that ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine.’
Patch Adams said that we have to get people laughing because:
It provides balance in people’s lives
It helps people cope better
It helps them staying well
And it helps the healing process when we need it
Studies done at medical centres such as the University of Maryland agree that:
Laughter lowers blood pressure
Decreases our stress hormones
Increases the body’s infection-fighting antibodies
Strengthens the heart and pulse rate during laughter
It may prevent heart disease
It’s an excellent workout for the internal organs
Laughter is miracle medicine. Although there have been several experiments on laughter, the best known miraculous story is that of Norman Cousins. Cousins, who were the editor of Saturday Review for over thirty years.
He wrote numerous books during his career, including ‘Anatomy of an illness.’ In 1964, he came home from a meeting in Russia experiencing severe joint pain and fever.
He was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, an illness that attacks the tissues of the body. He was treated with high doses of painkillers, which he knew were harmful to the body.
He decided to opt for his brand of treatment. He checked himself out of the hospital, hired a nurse, and decided to treat himself with humour and laughter.
The nurse would read him humorous stories and play entertaining movies for him, such as the Marx Brothers, Candid Camera, etc.
This worked so well that in a short time he could give up his pain killers and sleeping pills. He ultimately laughed himself to wellness.