Bob Tamasy: Healing Powers Of A Happy Heart

Monday, February 27, 2017 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Watching TV, we learn about great new prescription medications available for addressing all manner of aches, pains, symptoms and diseases. Take a pill, or get a shot, and we’ll be good as new (or so it seems). And we often see or read news about major medical advances, reports of researchers on the verge of easing or eradicating various maladies. For strugglers with chronic illnesses, such information offers welcomed hope.

There’s one health alternative, however, that’s typically overlooked: Laughter.

Back in the 1970’s, Norman Cousins, a journalist, author, educator and world peace advocate, brought this “cure” to light. In his book, An Anatomy of an Illness: As Perceived by the Patient, Cousins wrote about a degenerative disease he contracted following a stress-filled trip to the Soviet Union in 1964. Racked with constant pain, he sought medical treatment only to be informed death was imminent.

Cousins, however, reasoned his distress must have been stress-induced, so he prescribed for himself an “antidote” – extremely high doses of vitamin C, accompanied by a continual stream of humorous films and similar “laughing matter.” He discovered 10 minutes of hilarious laughter would provide two hours of pain-free sleep, something even morphine and other pain medications could not do.

His health slowly improved; within six months he was back on his feet. After two years, he resumed work full-time as an editor of the Saturday Review. Cousins’ amazing recovery baffled scientists, but he maintained the key was being able to laugh his way to health.

I thought about this while pondering our society, which is ailing in so many ways. Everyone seems angry, easily offended, and up in arms about practically anything they can imagine. Smiles, much less laughter, seem in short supply. We have emojis to represent various feelings, but they’re a poor substitute.

Maybe if we intentionally tried laughing, resolving to do it often, we – and society – would become a lot healthier. As a newspaper colleague of mine used to say years ago, “Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.”

Perhaps that’s why I enjoy my status as a perpetrator of puns. Maybe the humor isn’t particularly sophisticated, but if it elicits a laugh, a chuckle, even a smile, it’s served its purpose.

Cousins wasn’t the first to discover the healing powers of humor, of cultivating a happy heart. Far from it. The Bible’s book of Proverbs repeatedly speaks of the benefits of an high-spirited heart:

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit” (Proverbs 15:13).

“All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast” (Proverbs 15:15).

“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones” (Proverbs 15:30).

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” ((Proverbs 16:24).

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).

“The strong spirit of a man will sustain him in bodily pain or trouble, but a weak and broken spirit who can raise up or bear?” (Proverbs 18:14, Amplified).

Such observations and admonitions aren’t limited to the Old Testament. In fact, one of the shortest verses in the Bible makes this simple declaration: “Rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). And if our hope and confidence come from the Lord alone, rejoicing isn’t an unreasonable expectation.

Several books have been written called Happiness Is a Choice. Indeed, it is. We can let the world manipulate our emotions and moods, or we can focus on things that make us smile, laugh – and even rejoice – giving us a happy heart. And with cheerful looks, pleasant words, and even silly jokes, we can help others to do the same! 

----

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also writes two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.



Russell Nelson Called As 17th President Of Church Of Latter-Day Saints

President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has been called as the 17th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He succeeds President Thomas S. Monson who passed away on Jan. 2, 2018.  When the president of the Church passes away, succession in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints happens “in an orderly way that ... (click for more)

Greater Faith Temple Missionary Baptist Church Seeking A Pastor

The Greater Faith Temple Missionary Baptist Church is seeking a new pastor. Church officials said. "We are prayerfully seeking a pastor who is called by God and equipped to effectively preach and teach the Word of God. We seek a Baptist Biblical leader who will teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. The candidate must be equipped to provide Bible based training and committed ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Sheriff's Deputy In Officer-Involved Shooting At Lakesite

A Hamilton County Sheriff's Office deputy was involved in an officer involved shooting in the Lakesite area on Friday morning.   Authorities said it happened around 9:35 a.m. near the 1900 block of Wilkes Avenue.   Deputies were called on "an unwanted party."   There was a confrontation with deputies and a man at the mobile home was shot.   ... (click for more)

EPB Video As Percentage Of Fiber Customers Going Down, But That's Fine With Management

With more and more video customers turning to streaming options, EPB's video is dropping as a percentage of overall fiber customers. But that's fine with EPB management, knowing that all that video streaming needs a wide fiber pipeline to go through. EPB is positioned with the best "gig" service. Greg Eaves, chief financial officer, said 65 percent of EPB fiber customers now ... (click for more)

DACA Or Amnesty To Become The Majority?

As we have the political drama that we see in D.C. let’s be honest about what DACA is all about. We understand as the liberal policies of abortion, dependency on the government and an anti-American globalist / progressive agenda that many have come to realize these policies no longer represent their core beliefs and have left a certain party. Without an influx of new dependency ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

It is said that a 15-year-old in Minnesota, where just like the rest of the United States prayer in schools is prohibited, was tasked with writing an essay. He turned in his paper and, as it was returned with an A-plus, it is only fitting that something this clever should begin this week’s edition of The  Saturday  Funnies. Those who enjoy the Funnies understand that ... (click for more)