Laughter is the best medicine. That is one of the first benefits of laughter. Even though it's hard to laugh when you are sick, sad and troubled, you should try to use humor to drown your sorrows. That was what Norman Cousins did. His success in using humor intrigued the medical faculty.
Norman Cousins was an American political journalist, author, professor, and world peace advocate. He was diagnosed with Marie-Strumpell's disease and he was told that he had little chance of surviving. He also has to battle with heart disease. In his book titled the Anatomy of an Illness, he wrote about his struggles and how he used a self recovery program by taking massive doses of Vitamin C and training himself to laugh.
He said that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter brought an aesthetic effect and would make his pain disappear for at least two hours. When he sensed that the effect of laughter was wearing off, he turned on his projector again and begin to watch another comedy. Norman Cousins died at the age of 75, 26 years after his collagen illness and 36 years after his doctors first diagnosed his heart disease.
Researches were done and now modern neurophysiology acknowledges the benefits of laughter on a person's health and wellness. The cancer treatment centers of America use laughter therapy or also called humor therapy to help cancer patients relieve physical and emotional stresses and pains.
Laughter affects the brain chemistry. It triggers the brain to produce endorphins. The endorphins cause a pain relieving and an analgesic effect. Being a neurotransmitter, these peptides signal the good feeling messages to other cells in various parts of the body.
The other benefits of laughing include lowering blood pressure and strengthening the cardiovascular functions. Studies have also found that laughing helps reduces stress hormones and boost the immune system. So all these benefits of laughter explain why laughter is the best natural remedy and cure for illness and sufferings.
There are several ways to bring humor into your life. Watching comedy films like what Norman Cousins did is one of them. Watching cartoons is another option. You can choose to spend an evening watching and listening to a stand-up comedian perform and get a belly laugh.
Other than the psychological benefits of laughter, you also gain social benefits if you were to laugh with someone such as your family and friends. The emotion is contagious. It creates better bond and relationships.
And you can laugh at yourself. It helps reduce the feeling of uptightness. It also helps change your mental focus and state of mind. When you feel better, you can think better and improve your performance and efficiency.