Laughter is the best medicine
BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - November 17, 2018 - 12:00am

Here is an old material I have kept over the years and which I feel is now important to feature. According to a study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help in the prevention of heart disease. The researchers found that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.

Researchers compared the humor responses of 300 people. Half of the participants had either suffered a heart attack or had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery. The other 150 were healthy, age-matched participants who did not have heart disease.

The study showed that people with heart disease were less likely to recognize humor or use it to get out of uncomfortable situations. They generally laughed less, even in positive situations, and they displayed more anger and hostility.

“The ability to laugh—either naturally or as a learned behavior—may have important implications in societies, such as in the US, where heart disease remains the number one killer,” says Michael Miller, M.D., F.A.C.C., director of the Center for Preventative Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. “We know that exercising, not smoking, and eating foods low in saturated fat will reduce the risk of heart disease. Perhaps regular, hearty laughter should be added to the list. The recommendation for a healthy heart may one day be: exercise, eat right, and laugh a few times a day.”

Scriptures say: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” I sincerely believe that.

I read about one lady who, when she turned 50, wore a button at her work place that said, “Fifty is nifty.” All day she got lots of compliments with people saying things like, “Anita, you don’t look 50,” “Why, Anita, you can’t be 50,” and “We all know you’re not 50.” She knew they were kidding, but she loved it. However, the more she heard the lies, the more she believed them. On her way home she got to thinking, “I think I need a new husband. At 51, he’s much too old for a young-looking gal like me.”

As she arrived home from work, a young girl from the florist shop was delivering a beautiful floral arrangement with a note that said, “Birthday flowers from a friend.”

Seeing the “Fifty is Nifty” button on Anita’s dress, the girl said, “Oh, 50, eh?”

“Yes,” Anita said as she waited for one more compliment about looking so young when the delivery girl said, “Fifty. That’s great! Birthday or anniversary?” And the bubble was burst!!!

Here is another story:

I heard about another lady who, when she was 50, liked to tell people she was 60. “Why do you do this? Someone who knew her real age asked. “Well for 50 I look terrible, but for 60 I look fantastic,” she replied.

Kidding and joking in the right spirit when you make yourself the target of the laughter (and not others) is fun and healthy. We probably all remember the axiom that says, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This would probably be better said “A laugh a day keeps the doctor and the blues away.”

Here is the deal. I get to come up close and personal with the CEO’s, presidents, and chairmen of huge business corporations, and needless to say, I have interacted with many business owners in the country both large, medium and small in terms of size and scope and most of them have a healthy sense of humor. Humor is fun, but it is also intelligent. They are extremely serious with what they do, but they still know how to carry a healthy laugh. Perhaps this is their coping mechanism, but I tend to believe that an intelligent mind carries the capacity to carry a healthy sense of humor. But notice the emphasis on the words “healthy and intelligent.”

It’s not toilet humor. It’s not offensive jokes and insults meant to make people laugh at the expense of other people, but it is the ability to laugh with others and not at others, and the humility to laugh at their own faults and idiosyncrasies.

Yes, laughter is good medicine and in my untrained and amateur medical presumption, it would greatly extend longevity.

So, let me offer you a list of quotes that reflect the high intelligence of the speakers, yet the healthy humor they possess and I hope this brings if not laughter, at least a smile on your face:

• “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” ? Groucho Marx,

• “A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” ? Steve Martin

• “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” ? Albert Einstein

• “I love mankind...it’s people I can’t stand!!” ? Charles Schultz

Loosen up. Laugh a little so people can stand you.

(Reserve the dates Feb. 19 and 20 for the next run of the highly-acclaimed Level Up Leadership Seminar and Workshop 2019 edition. Learn inspiring leadership lessons and valuable life skills in this program at The Makati Diamond Residences. For further inquiries or advanced reservations contact April at +63928-559-1798 or register online at www.levelupleadership.ph)

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