Many years ago, Norman Cousins was diagnosed as
"terminally ill." He was given six months to live. His
chance for recovery was one in 500. |
He could see the worry, depression and anger in his
life contributed to, and perhaps helped cause, his disease.
He wondered, "If illness can be caused by negativity, can
wellness be created by positivity?"
He decided to make an experiment of himself. Laughter
was one of the most positive activities he knew. He rented
all the funny movies he could find - Keaton, Chaplin,
Fields, the Marx Brothers. (This was before VCRs, so he had
to rent the actual films.) He read funny stories. He asked
his friends to call him whenever they said, heard or did
His pain was so great he could not sleep. Laughing for
10 solid minutes, he found, relieved the pain for several
hours so he could sleep.
He fully recovered from his illness and lived another
20 happy, healthy and productive years. (His journey is
detailed in his book, Anatomy of an Illness.) He credits
visualization, the love of his family and friends, and
laughter for his recovery.
Some people think laughter is a waste of time. It is a
luxury, they say, a frivolity, something to indulge in only
every so often.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Laughter is
essential to our equilibrium, to our well-being, to our
aliveness. If we're not well, laughter helps us get well; if
we are well, laughter helps us stay that way.
Since Cousins' ground-breaking subjective work,
scientific studies have shown that laughter has a curative
effect on the body, the mind and the emotions.
So, if you like laughter, consider it sound medical
advice to indulge in it as often as you can. If you don't
like laughter, then take your medicine - laugh anyway.
Use whatever makes you laugh - movies, sitcoms, Monty
Python, records, books, New Yorker cartoons, jokes, friends.
Give yourself permission to laugh - long and loud and
out loud - whenever anything strikes you as funny. The
people around you may think you're strange, but sooner or
later they'll join in even if they don't know what you're
Some diseases may be contagious, but none is as
contagious as the cure. . . laughter.
Published in www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Garden/4834/EncouragingStories