Is Laughter The Best Medicine? Can It Help You Recovery From Illness?
The short answer is YES! The emotion (energy in motion) of laughter really does have the power to down regulate (turn off) genes that are creating illness and up regulate (turn on) genes that can help you recover. Dr Joe Dispenza tells the story in his incredible book "You Are The Placebo" about Norman Cousins. A political analyst and editor who published an account in the New England Journal of Medicine, of how he used a daily dose of laughter (along with massive doses of vitamin C) to reverse a potentially fatal disease.
He'd been diagnosed with a degenerative disorder called ankylosing spondylitis and was given a 1 in 500 chance of recovery. He suffered immense pain and had such difficulty moving his limbs, he could barely turn over in bed. His intuition told him his previously consistent negative state had contributed to his illness. Therefore, it seemed reasonable it was equally possible a more positive state could reverse the damage. He started a daily regime of massive doses of vitamin C and watching humorous movies every day. He found that just 10 minutes of hearty laughter a day gave him 2 hours of pain free sleep. Eventually he made a full recovery. He literally laughed himself to health!
Dr Joe Dispenza goes on to explain that whilst at that time, scientist did not understand his miraculous recovery, research now tells us it's likely that epigenetic processes were at work. So, Cousins shift of attitude actually changed his body chemistry, altering his internal state, enabling him to programme new genes in new ways. Simply put downgrading (turning off) unhealthy genes and upgrading (turning on) healthy genes.
We have been under an illusion for some time that the genetics we are born with determine our health outcomes (well there's cancer in the family!) but this simply isn't true. Whilst it's true that some illnesses are genetic (less than 2%, Bryan H Lipton PHD). The study of epigenetics (whilst still pretty new) is showing that our genes actually up regulate and down regulate due to our environments. This includes our thoughts, feelings, food and lifestyle choices. This is great news because it means we have much more power (and responsibility) over our own health (free will!) We have the power to change much of our environments if we choose to do so. We can choose to upgrade our thoughts to more balanced positive thoughts (takes some effort to begin with) knowing negative thoughts, if done consistently can create illness. We can choose to focus on things that uplift our feelings like joy and laughter!
My experience working with clients who are depressed is that they suffer from consistent harsh critical thoughts and often have little or no joy in many areas of their lives (work, relationships, friendships). It can feel hard to turn this around when you are in this cycle, but it's not impossible, it just takes some effort. But when you recognise it takes effort to continue engaging in the negative (it's literally draining your life force energy - illness is energy depletion) then why not start putting effort into identifying with more loving balanced thoughts? With actively seeking out more joy and laughter? You can start breaking that cycle now by introducing a daily dose of laughter as your natural medication? If you're struggling for inspiration (are not around many joyful people!) why not start your day with a funny clip on YouTube. The more you shift into this energy the easier it becomes to see the fun in all the ordinary aspects of life. Why do we love comedians so much? because they remind us not to take life too seriously. To laugh at the sometimes mundane aspects of life.
At New Year's one of my best friends nearly peed herself laughing at me and my other best friend because we had slipped into one of the most boring conversations about something mundane in life. I can't even remember what it was. I just remember her bursting into laughter, she was laughing so hard she was crying, and she just couldn't stop. You know that kind of laughter? God it feels so good!
Perhaps laughter isn't natural to you? Perhaps you were deprived of it when growing up? I was blessed growing up, we may not have had a lot of money but what I remember the most is laughter. My dad was always cracking jokes (still is!), and the rest of us were always laughing (when we weren't skilfully swapping price labels from the smaller cuts of meat to the bigger ones!). I can see how I have carried this positive conditioning into my life and how well it has served me in my work, in my relationships, in my enjoyment of life no matter how tough it gets sometimes. Some people don't experience this and have more challenging childhoods, but as an adult we get to choose, we get to take back our power! That can start with a simple dose of laughter. The more you focus on this emotion, the more it grows and weaves itself loving around your life!
So here's to more belly laughing! It literally is a life saver! A soul reviver! Thank you for reading Corinne
If you are in the US (US distribution only recommended) love cats or have a partner that loves cats check out my rude funny mug range that will make you laugh and smile every time you have a cuppa!
If you are interested in learning more about your power to control your own genetic destiny you can use the below link to purchase Dr Joe Dispenza incredible book You Are The Placebo
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, this is why I know whats good for us!! But seriously always take the advice of a trusted doctor re illness, but if they tell you not to laugh get a second opinion!
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