April 26, 2012
Doctors are trained to be skeptical. When assessing research, we look for double blinded studies, where the researchers and subjects are blinded to the nature of the treatment the participants in the study receive. We are so skeptical that, when a study reveals a new and useful clinical tool or medication, we demand to see a second study which replicates the results of the first before we accept the new data. If you have ever been hospitalized, I’m sure you’ve been frustrated by the fact that each physician who sees you asks the same questions as the others. It’s not uncommon for a patient to ask, “Don’t you guys read the chart? The cardiologist just asked me that!” Yes, we are even skeptical about our associates’ notes. In my world, skepticism is a good thing.
Even trained skeptics will sometimes choose to take things at face value. Today, Ewa (my Concierge nurse) gave me a handout on the medical effects of laughter. There are many “studies” purporting to show the beneficial effects of laughter. According to the document given to me today, laugher “heals your immune system, dulls your pain, improves your memory, lowers your blood pressure, and performs wondrous feats.” I don’t even need one double blinded study to accept that statement.
Other claims made by this document include:
- Laughter is a stress buster.
- Laughter is anti-aging.
- Laughter is internal jogging.
- Laughter can control high blood pressure.
- Laughter can help bump depression and anxiety.
- Laughter alleviates bronchitis and asthma.
It seems that laughter is the fountain of youth. Despite being a skeptic, I’ll choose to believe all of the above. The gift Ewa shared with me today suggested, “Start and finish your day with laughter, bringing laughter to everyday life.”
Diets and Other Unnatural Acts teaches you to invest, on a daily basis, in your emotional account. Laughter is an excellent way to increase your emotional wellbeing. It’s free, natural, and has very few side effects. If the FDA certified laughter, they would have to warn about the dangers of laughing at other’s misfortune.
Children laugh all the time. As they grow into adolescence, it seems they laugh less and less. By the time they reach adulthood, laughter almost disappears. I used to love a good joke. Now, I can’t seem to remember one. As evidenced by my recent blogs, I’ve almost forgotten how to laugh. I’m sure Ewa took note of that fact and fed me the medicine I’ve needed. Thank you, Ewa!
Renee and I are getting ready to make a deposit in our “90 Day” account. We’ll spend five days with our family and friends. I can’t wait to see my daughter, son and grandchildren. This trip, I am going to practice laughing. I expect Jackson and Hannah will be excellent teachers. I’ll awaken to laughter and laugh myself to sleep. When I return home next week, I’ll work on adding laughter to each day’s task.