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Laughter is Good Medicine

By Christopher Emmanuel

“Laughter is a cheap high with no side effects”

A young couple invited their pastor for Sunday dinner. While they were in the kitchen preparing the meal, the minister asked their son what they were having. “Goat,” the little boy replied.
“Goat?” replied the pastor, “Are you sure about that?”
“Yep,” said the youngster. “I heard Dad say to Mom, ‘Might as well have the old goat for dinner today as any other day.

 Some time ago, while sitting in my isle seat on a plane flying to the US, I looked up slightly from my reading to see the flight attendant coming down the narrow isle with the beverage cart. Just as she approached my seat she knocked my right knee with the metal cart. Ouch! I replied looking up from my book. “Oh I am sorry,” she apologized. “Did I hit your funny bone?” “This is not at all funny, I retorted.” We both stared at each other and burst out laughing at the situation.

As she carried on down the isle, I thought to myself. “The funny bone is near the elbow.” Why do they call it the funny bone anyway? When you hit or bump it, it’s not funny at all. When you bang your elbow you’re not hitting a bone at all. You are hitting the ulnar nerve as it passes around the back of the elbow.

So the funny part of the “funny bone” is that it’s not a bone at all…but the truth is the experiences can be funny. It’s all about how your state of mind is. When you are able to see the funny side of life, laughter can become a healing force for your troubles. Do you know that laughter actually lowers your blood pressure? That laughter actually acts like an exercise for your insides? That laughter is catchy? Did you know that laughter helps to relieve pain?

I don’t know about you, but I laugh at myself all the time. I have done some stupid, stupid, things in my life so far. Here’s one: Once at my girlfriend’s friend’s house at a barbecue, while the guests were all sitting around looking out from the lounge unto the back yard, I was walking into the back patio from outside. I assume the glass door was opened because of the angle of the sun and the clean glass. I didn’t notice that it was closed; I walked right into it. Here I was plastered on the glass full body like a cartoon, face first, eyeglasses all bend out of shape, with all my friends, their in-laws, and grans staring at me from the other side. Here’s the funny part. They all were trying to be so kind, holding back the laughter when I peeled myself off the glass and opened the door. Out of pure embarrassment I started laughing and they all joined in. We still burst with laughter over the incident today when someone brings it up.

You say you have nothing to laugh at? Just look around, there are really funny things happening all the time if you are open to a good laugh. Human beings are funny. We all do the most amusing things.
Laugh to release steam and uplift yourself.

You don’t realize how much tension you walk around with every day until you’ve had a good laugh to release that tension. Because laughter is a subconscious release of tension, laughter gets rid of gloom, aggravation, depression, worry – all forms of tension.

Having a sense of humor is a sign of maturity, because it demonstrates a sense of proportion about what’s truly important. Growing and maturing is a process of learning to see all of life’s issues in context. It is human nature to lose focus and get emotionally wrapped up in our day-to-day concerns. We can laugh in everyday life when we recognize the absurdity of a skewed perspective. Someone who breaks a shoelace may think his world is falling apart – until he meets someone without a leg.

Children don’t have this sense of proportion. They cry over trivial matters, and bear grudges over little things. An adult who does the same thing is acting childish. Somebody stepped on my shadow, or somebody insulted me.” It is out of proportion. Try mocking your hang-ups and idiosyncrasies. When it is clear how ridiculous and ludicrous our situation is, the joke is on us.

“Laugh at your problems” does not mean ignore them; that would be irresponsible. Of course you have to deal with the source of your depression. But while you’re stuck in it, trying to analyze the reason makes you even more depressed! If you can laugh at yourself for making too much out of something trivial, then you’ve achieved a necessary distance from your problems. That in turn will give you energy and perspective to deal with the more serious underlying cause.

Each day should be fresh. Don’t come with preconceived notions. Laughter helps clear the air. So break out of it and have a laugh. Enjoy life. Don’t pity yourself.

Books by Christopher Emmanuel can be purchased at his Art Gallery in The Sunbreeze Hotel , Art of Touch, Pages Book Store, Black orchid Spa and  Sol Spa.

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