Laughter Is The Best Medicine


By Pr. Kungsong Wanbe
First of all the Bible says,`A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones.` Proverbs 17: 22 KJV. A recent medical and psychological research has proved beyond all doubts what the wise men always know intuitively that `Laugh and be well` is no more catch-phrase. People who are unable or cannot laugh are sickly people. The same has been detected by modern medical science that anyone who cannot laugh is in the state of sickness. Man or woman who cannot laugh is not a member of any tribe or community. One renowned doctor of the Paris Institute of Psychology proclaims that laughter releases toxic emotions, which through the medium of the sympathetic nervous system, causes a sudden nervous discharge and change the physiological reactions of the individual. He (the doctor) once gave weekly lessons in the art of socially infectious laughter to large groups of people, and secured constant proof of laughter`™s wonderfully efficient respiratory means of leveling off supercharged emotions.

Not only does laughter instantly relax on the threefold levels of the physical, the mental and the emotional and we laugh because we enjoy ourselves and it shares enjoyment to others. At an experiment held at New York University in which two groups of students under the name group `A` and group `B` were formed and placed on exactly the same daily food. That the group `A` had to occupy itself immediately after meals with serious scientific discussion led by an academic instructor, while group `B` was regularly entertained by a light comedian. After only fortnight it was found that the general health and spirits of group B were undoubtedly better than those of group `A`. Group B`™s digestions and overall emotional tone were also noticeably improved over those of their less fortunate fellows.

Even on the purely physical level, a good laugh wonderfully relaxes muscular tensions in the whole body, especially in the chest and abdomen. By relaxing the diaphragm during the heavy breathing that accompanies all hearty laughter, inner tensions are specially relieved. This in turn leads to a deeper rhythm in the respiration, allowing oxygen to circulate more freely through the blood to every part of the frame. From the vocal chords to the soles of the feet we are stimulated and then relaxed. Even after a short time of laugh a person has enriched and enlivened his whole organism in a unique way. The doctor says, `Burst with laughter and get well`. He also says, the time we live now is a bad stomach problem, this may also be cured by a happy laugh.

Laughter being the pleasantest infection in the world, audibility is its first essential. All men laugh more or less, but those who laugh the most are the ones who live the longest and enjoy the best results. Laughter dissipates fears and apprehensions and certainly minimizes mental strains. The British association for Mental Health states that laughter is the greatest enemy of worry. People who cannot laugh themselves usually suffer seriously the sense of inadequacy, which makes them refuse to admit that they are foolish or wrong. It is very much sure that people who refuse to laugh suffer heart and mental retardation.

According to a French psychologist Dr. G.W. Valentine, when things go really wrong to a small child or an infant, everything looks black and natural laughter disappears. So a sick child who can still laugh is already halfway to recovery. The doctor also said that an infant`™s first smile is the first true expression of well-being and pleasure that infants begin to laugh at about twelve weeks, though they may smile when as young as six days. The older baby laughs not because he or she is physically better able to do so than the new born child, but because he or she is psychologically better equipped and they understand in some obscure instinctive way that the general meaning of some uttered human sound is good. That the development of laughter from the earliest age is connected with development of speech, which seems to suggest that, like speech, laughter is a fundamental means of human communication.

The doctor further said that laughter maintains this laugh among nations as among men because it helps preserve a sense of promotion. `No man ever distinguished himself who could not bear to be laughed at`, someone has said in a flash of insight. Laughers generally are more sensitive and sympathetic than those who show only stiff sad unsmiling faces and dogged expressions to people. If laughter is the pleasantest of all the emotions, it is also the most useful. Above all, it is an interacting social phenomenon, which invariably exercises a humanizing effect upon all who practise or enjoy it. It is beyond all doubt, a sudden glory, the happiest convulsion which humankind can summon back again and again as long as sanity prevails.


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