December 16 ~  Jog Internally Head First: Biology of Hope

"Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors." ~ Norman Cousins

Baby on Shoulder

In 1979, Dr. Norman Cousins (1915-1990) in his famous book Anatomy of an Illness described how watching Marx Brother movies helped him recover from an illness diagnosed as fatal.

"Is it possible," he wondered, "that love, hope, faith, laughter, confidence, and the will to live have therapeutic value?" Cousins made it a point to enjoy a hearty belly laugh several times a day.

"Funny is an attitude," observed comic Flip Wilson.

Medical studies show that laughter boosts levels of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, and suppresses levels of epinephrine, the stress hormone.

"Laughter," said writer Victor Hugo, "is the sun that drives winter from the human face."

According to philosopher Arnold Glasgow, "Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects."

In an ABC television interview, Professor Lee Berk, who studied laughter and medicine for over 20 years, explained that laughter increased the Natural Killer Cell activity, the cells that destroy viruses and tumors. Laughter increased a disease-fighting protein, B-cells, the source of a disease-destroying antibody, and T-cells which help cellular immune response.

"He who laughs," said Mary Pettibone Poole, "lasts."

The time is NOW to laugh and be happy. You can do it! Scientist Boris Sokoloff explained, "Like swimming, riding, writing, or playing golf, happiness can be learned."

More COUSINS Quotations

Norman CousinsLaugh and be healthy.