Humor Can Heal! G. K. Chesterton once wrote, “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.” And Proverbs 17:22 says, “A happy heart is good medicine.” Here are a few ways humor can help! Hum or Combats Fear Humor can disable fear because it changes your perspective of the past and the present.
A traumatic episode from childhood can be eased in your heart if you place it into the “ridiculous” category along with other stories from the past. Choose to follow the advice of Leo Buscaglia: “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. And swing!” Hum or Comforts Charlie Chaplin once said, “To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it.”
Perhaps that is how great comics like Stephen Colbert, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, and Art Buchwald have journeyed and emerged through periods of torment. New York City’s Big Apple Circus has used humor to console sick children since 1986 when they started sending teams of clowns into hospital rooms with “rubber chicken soup” and other fun surprises. “It’s for the children, yes…” explains Jane Englebardt, deputy director of the circus, “but it’s also for the parents who, when they hear their children laugh for the first time in days or weeks, know everything’s going to be O.K.” Hum or Reduces Pain The psychiatric nurses at Laurel Regional Hospital gather patients around the TV to watch funny flicks or videos. Dr. Elias Shaya, Chief of Psychiatry at Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore instills the importance of laughter in his patients. Says Dr. Shaya: “I advocate finding ways to laugh by watching comedy or engaging in looking up jokes and sharing them.”
Some hospitals have created “Humor Rooms” to encourage patients to incorporate humor into their recovery process. Science backs these efforts. Hum or Boosts the Immune System and Reduces Stress In 2006, researchers led by Lee Berk and Stanley A. Tan of Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California discovered that hormones and beta-endorphins (which alleviate depression) and human growth hormone (HGH, which helps with immunity) increased by 27 and 87 percent respectively when volunteers anticipated watching a humorous video. Even the simple anticipation of laughter boosted these health-protecting hormones and chemicals.
Hum or Spreads Happiness Laughter is contagious. Perhaps that’s why 5,000 Laughter Clubs have emerged around the world. People get together and simply laugh for no reason at all. According to Dr. Shaya of Good Samaritan Hospital, “These clubs have exercises that teach how to move your face, how to laugh more intensely to involve the shoulders, then the belly.” Hum or Cultivates Optimism Humor is like gratitude in that it nurtures optimism. If humor can transform a painful memory of the past or a gnawing issue of the present into an opportunity to laugh at the craziness of life, perhaps a person can better facilitate his own healing.
Source: Therese J. Borchard, beliefnet.com