Cultivate your sense of humour

There are three good reasons why I love my morning water aerobic class. The third reason probably should be the first, but it isn’t. The third reason is exercise.
The second reason is friends. I have made so many new close friends and reconnected with some old ones.
But the first reason—the most important one—is laughter. This is the most important reason because I sincerely believe in the healing power of laughter.
Every morning as we cross-country ski, soccer kick, and do jumping jacks, we talk and laugh. We laugh about college pranks and things our children did years ago, and when our leader Cheryl tells the “weird story of the day.”
And sometimes we laugh at ourselves.
As a group, we have lots of reasons not to laugh—some have lost spouses, some have had recent surgeries, and two have adult children who are battling cancer.
In addition to that, one of our group lost all of her electrical appliances during a power surge following the recent ice storm—two refrigerators, a furnace, a two-week old stove, computer, five television sets, hair dryer, electric blanket.
The list goes on.
Yet, we still laugh. Not because we have no pain, but precisely because we have hard things to deal with.
Allen Klein, author of “The Healing Power of Humor,” says you always feel better when you laugh.
Klein wrote this book in 1989 after his wife died from a rare liver disease. He says it was “a tribute to her and her wonderful sense of humour which helped her, and those around her, cope with what she was going through.”
Since then, the book has been translated into seven languages and has helped many people at times of loss.
In 1998, Klein wrote another book dealing with the importance of laughter and humour—“The Courage to Laugh.”
Laughter is always the “best medicine.” And you especially need this medicine this side of 60—a time when you are more likely to experience loss and challenging health problems.
Klein stresses that humour should not be used to cover up pain and loss, but as a coping strategy. He says appropriate laughter is a refreshing and therapeutic tonic in times of difficulty.
Researchers say laughter lowers heart rate and blood pressure, relaxes muscles, boosts immune system, improves brain function, reduces stress, increases the capacity to fight disease, elevates mood, and activates the will to live.
Laughter improves mental and emotional health, and helps you avoid loneliness. And best of all, laughter heals—both physically and mentally.
If you want to be truly healthy, it is just as important to nurture your sense of humour as it is to provide your body with nutritious food and safe shelter.
“Humour is all around you,” says Klein. “All you have to do is open your eyes and ears and look.” And then share the humour you find with others.
Always remember that laughter is, indeed, excellent medicine, and humour can give you the courage to go on. So whatever stresses you have to cope with right now, whether they are big or small, why not bring as much laughter into your life as possible?

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