An Apache myth tells of how the creator endowed human beings, the two-leggeds, with the ability to do everything – talk, run, see, and hear. But he was not satisfied until the two-leggeds could do just one thing more – laugh. And so men and women laughed and laughed and laughed! Then the creator said, “Now you are fit to live.”
It is said that laughter is medicine. As I ponder this thought, I realize that laughter is a universal medicine that has the power to bond and the ability to cross language, cultural, philosophical and spiritual barriers. Laughter gives the ability to help us tap into our commonalities and use them to heal, rather than using our differences to divide and destroy.
Think about your reaction when you hear or see one of those gut busting belly laughs from an infant. What is your first instinct? Mine is to laugh! Baby belly laughs have the power to lift a sorrowful mood, sometimes in an instant. It’s not something we have to summon or choose. It’s an automatic response.
Think also about the moments you have made eye contact with an infant and they respond to you with a big smile. Doesn’t it warm your heart like nothing else? That infant has no ability to understand or form a spoken word to communicate verbally with you.
But that smile and that eye contact is heart to heart communication. It’s magic. It’s powerful. It heals!
* Increase the number and activity of natural killer cells (which attack infected cells and some types of cancer cells)
* Increase the number of T cells (these cells are “turned on and ready to go” to fight infections).
* Increase the level of the antibody IgA (which fights upper respiratory tract infections).
* Increase the levels of gamma interferon (which activates many immune components).
* Increase levels of complement (which helps antibodies to pierce infected cells).
Even better is that with laughter as medicine, it costs you nothing and you run zero risk of negative side effects!
Now please understand that I am not saying that laughter should replace medicine as a tool to help a person’s physical or mental health. However, I am saying that laughter is a powerful complementary tool to add to your toolkit!
Next time your body, mind, or soul feel under the weather, go ahead and feel that feeling. It’s healthy to acknowledge pain or sadness and give yourself permission to feel it. But I encourage you to not set up camp there. Try your best to look for the humor, because it can be found in almost any situation.
If you can find even a speck of something to make you smile, your load has lightened. Allow yourself to take a break from sadness, if even for 5 minutes. Watch a funny video (perhaps of a baby belly laugh) or turn on a funny TV show that you enjoy. Write a story or a poem with a funny ending.
Use the power of memory to recall that time in your life when you laughed the hardest. That memory for me is the time my daughter, now in her 30’s, referred to graham crackers as graham “crappers”. I thought I would hit the floor right there in the grocery.
So go find your funny! Then, call a friend and share your funny! Because we all need healing right now, do we not? We all need immune boosting laughter. It just might heal your heart, your community, and our world.
This is my two cents’ worth for today. That and a buck might get you a cup of coffee! 😊
Linda Carney, INHC
Your Path Forward
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