An increasing number of doctors, today, all over the world, are of the view that if a man is happy and light-hearted, cheerful and contented, positive and uncomplaining, disease will not draw close to him and, even if it does, it will not stay with him for long.
“Laughter,” says Dr Bradley Wilde [USA], “provides a rhythmic movement of the abdominal muscles, gently massages the intestinal organs, improves digestion and blood circulation.”
In the Harvard and Yale Universities of America and at the University of California Los Angeles’s Neuro-psychiatric Institute at West Los Angeles, neurobiologists and medical researchers have confirmed that smiling, laughing and cheerful expressions set in motion happy waves in the mind and generate neuropeptides that revitalise the immune system. This helps prevent and fight disease. People who do not think of negative emotions such as jealousy, envy or greed, are healthier than those who live cloistered, unhappy lives.
Many modern hospitals and clinics display messages like: ‘Laugh your way to health’, ‘Laughter may be hazardous to your illness’ and ‘Cheerfulness is the new wonder drug’.
Doctors are of the view that our blood molecules contain receptors that get signals from the brain. If a person is happy and content, the receptors transmit signals of happiness, and healing is accelerated. Modern science has discovered that the more you laugh, the healthier you become. Jolly physicians, it is said, are more effective than pills.
Cheerfulness is the greatest lubricant of the wheels of life. It diminishes pain, fights disease, mitigates misfortunes, lightens burdens and eases one’s life.
A young girl, suffering from a dreaded disease, was brought to a hospital. When she was being prepared to be taken to the operation theatre, she found the nurses sad and glum. “I know what you are thinking,” she said to the nurses. “But, let me tell you, I am not going to die so soon. God has other plans for me. I have spoken to Him and that is what He has told me.” When she was taken to the operation theatre, she kidded the doctors, until she came under the influence of the anaesthesia. The doctors opened her up and found that cancer had spread so extensively, that it was no use performing the operation. So they stitched her up.
When she regained consciousness, she was told that she has only 3 – 6 months to live. She was advised to restrict her movements and live a relaxed, activity-free life.
The young woman was not taken in. “I have long cherished a desire to visit Switzerland,” she said. “And even if it takes the life out of me, I will do it! Switzerland is known as the heaven on earth. Before I visit God’s heaven, let me see the beauty of the earthly heaven to be able to compare the two and decide which one is better.”
The doctors did all they could to dissuade her. “The strain of the trip will kill you,” they said to her. But she remained adamant and both the travel and the climate did her good. When she set out, she had to be taken in a wheel chair; when she returned, she walked with a straight gait, and a rose-tint on her cheeks. The doctors were amazed. Till this day she lives a happy life and bears testimony to the fact that if you live happily, not focusing your attention on disease and illness, health and strength, vigour and vitality will be yours.
There would be no need for hospitals if only people could be happy and light-hearted!
Two years ago, on the sacred day of Muharram, they took me to Imam Bara. There, I met a man who went by the name Mr Agha. He said to me: “Your people, I am aware, do a lot of service. But, I too, in my own humble way, render service to people.”
“What do you do?” I asked him.
“I appear on the TV, and make people laugh!”
How true, those who make people laugh, also serve. Many of us have forgotten the ancient art of laughing.
Cheerfulness is therapeutic. And I wish to share with you a few practical suggestions on how a person can keep up the spirit of cheerfulness.
- Get up in the morning with a smile on your face and the words, “Good morning, Lord!” on your lips. These words are from the title of a book written several years ago by an American businessman. He has been waking up this way for many years and says that doing merely this much has added a new dimension to his life.
- Always look at the bright side of things. Everything has two sides, the bright and the dark or as I wish to put it, the bright and the less bright. But it is the way you look at it that matters.
- Get a hearty laugh at least three times a day—once before breakfast, once before lunch and once before dinner. If you find it difficult to laugh, look into the mirror and make funny faces.
Cheerfulness is indeed a physical, mental and spiritual tonic.
This was first published in the April 2012 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
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