I'm Gene Millen, your host on this website with my wife Bernie. My mission is to show you the cure for heart disease.
Twenty-four years ago I had the dubious pleasure of a six-way heart bypass operation...and it wasn't as much fun as you might think.
One of the "therapies" after the surgery as I laid in the hospital bed was to clutch a huge teddy bear to my chest to keep it from hurting as my family tried to make me laugh. It worked!
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." - Proverbs 17:22.
A growing body of scientific research confirms these words of wisdom found in the ancient scriptures.
Laughter has been called "the sunshine of the mind" and a generous dose can go a long way toward keeping us healthy.
When we're laughing, natural killer cells that destroy tumors and viruses and supercharges our immune function to protect us from a host of diseases.A dose of the giggles also lowers blood pressure, increases blood flow and triggers a flow of endorphins, the body's natural pain killers, and produces a sense of well being.
A touch of levity also gives us a perspective on our problems and helps us to accept the things that we cannot change.
Author Patty Wooten writes, "The ability to laugh at a situation or problem gives us a feeling of superiority and power. Humor and laughter can foster a positive and hopeful attitude."
Laughter is a complex response that involves many of the same skills as problem solving. Enjoying a good joke is a mind-altering experience., which involves the whole brain.
Humor researcher Peter Derks has shown that there is a unique pattern of brain wave activity that actually jumps back and forth through the various processing centers of the brain to follow the pattern of a joke from the beginning to its punch line.
Norman Cousins, who has written extensively on how laughter heals the heart, says that a good belly laugh is a "kind of internal jogging" and is a good source of cardio exercising.
Researchers estimate that laughing 100 times is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine. This is no doubt good for some of you out there who have exercise at the bottom of your "to do list."
Bernie Siegel tells the following story.
"A famous surgeon presented his patient with a bill. The patient said, 'I'm sorry but I cannot pay.' The doctor then asked. 'Can you pay half? and the patient said, 'I'm sorry but I cannot pay that either.'
The doctor tried again. "How much can you pay?" "Nothing" said the patient. The doctor was very upset and exclaimed, "If you couldn't pay then why did you choose me, the most renowned surgeon in the country to perform the operation?"
The patient answered, "When it comes to my health, money is no object."
Humor is the universal language. In India, laughing clubs, in which participants gather in the early morning for the sole purpose of laughing, are becoming as popular as Rotary clubs in the United States.
The next time you are fellowshipping with your family or friends suggest that you all make funny faces at one another. It won't take long before you find yourselves immersed in deep belly laughter.
I close with a couple of important quotes.
"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." - Mark Twain.
"Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that's bad for you." - Tommy Smothers
Laughs but not least, jest for the health of it, take time out to add a little more humor to your life. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you for it!
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