The week I was laid off from my job was one of the hardest of my life. It was just before Christmas, and I didn’t have the money to buy presents or the makings of a Christmas feast. I felt absolutely awful. Unable to “spin” the facts for my friends and family or put on a happy face, I isolated in my apartment and became very very grim. The last thing I wanted to be called was negative, or worse, Negative Nelly! However, it occurred to me that there was little about this situation that was positive. I didn’t want to be told that “crisis was an opportunity for change” or to “hang in there” and “put on a smile.”
It occurred to me that I needed my old friends George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Lily Tomlin to help me out. I rented a bunch of their videos, and laughed for hours. Within a day or two, I came to a decision that this was rough going, but with one little step at a time, I would get through the situation. Laughter brought me out of a state of grim negativity to a centered realism colored with faith that things would get better. Not only is laughter pleasurable, it brings balance, awareness, and can literally save your life. Through humor, comedians have been able to deal with the darkest aspects of human existence, and so it is with the rest of us.
Journalist Norman Cousins was one of the first people who brought the healing power of laughter into the public eye when he wrote about the pain-killing power of the Marx Brothers in the treatment of his cancer: “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep. When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, we would switch on the motion picture projector again and not infrequently, it would lead to another pain-free interval.”
Laughter does in fact produce pain-killing endorphins, and strengthens the immune system by increasing the production of T-cells, interferon and globulins. It decreases stress by lowering the hormone cortisol, and brings the body into a more relaxed state. It lowers blood pressure and increases the oxygen levels in our blood, giving us more elan vitale and creative energy. It also makes us attractive to other people and bonds us to each other socially.
In essence, humor and laughter should be as much a part of your wellness program as meditation and exercise. Here are but a few ways to keep it light:
1. Take a “Maude” (from Harold and Maude) approach to life. This is, after all, it. Maude brought a yellow umbrella to a funeral. And why not?
2. Buy a chia pet and put it on your desk at work. Create a file of jokes in your desk and when the pressure gets to be too much, give yourself a laugh or two.
3. Keep a DVD library of your favorite funny films, ones guaranteed to lift you by your boots out of your lousy mood. Examples: This Is Spinal Tap, South Park: The Movie.
4. Make it worse: When in an unpleasant situation, blow it up into impossible proportions, and see the absurdity of it in comparison.
5. Imagine them in their underwear. It really does work.
6. What would Carol Burnett do? You’ve burned dinner and lost your house keys. Apply Carol’s method and make a shtick out of it. Soon you will find your keys and you can order in Chinese food.
When things just plain suck, and often they will, laughter can be the thing to bring you out of the dark and into the next right move.
What do the stars reveal about your love life?
Find out with a psychic reading. Call 1.800.573.4830
or choose your psychic now.