For thousands of years people have recognized the healing powers of humor and laughter. It was believed that laughter and tears gave the body a cathartic emotional cleansing. The Greeks even created healing temples at Delphi, where ill people would attend both tragic and comic theatrical performances as a part of their healing process.
Amid the death and destruction we see broadcasted on the daily news, we also see and are experiencing a raised awareness. Simultaneously, this radiance raises hope, opening wide the gateway to humor. The more we evolve, the more humorous we become.
The catatoxic emotions Norman Cousins described include fear, anger, panic, despair, and dread. A life filled with these emotions creates an internal environment within the body that leave a person vulnerable to these feelings.
When we can't change the external reality of any given moment, we can redefine how we experience it internally. Humor is our shared ability to find joy in the face of adversity. It gives us a perceptual edge that helps us find humor and happiness - anywhere, anytime.
Humor changes our perspectives on the sentiment of loss and we learn to laugh about it. Take people who have survived natural disasters. After a tornado blew the roof off their house, the family in Texas had to move in with relatives across town. The sign on their front door read: "Gone with the Wind."
After an earthquake in Los Angeles, a sign in front of a collapsed house advertised: "House for sale - Some assembly required."
These stories show how our sense of humor allows us to remain emotionally resilient during challenging times. The ability to bounce-back from emotional distress is replicated in our body's immune response system. Scientific evidence is growing to prove what generations of healers and seers have been sharing for years. Namely, that humor heals and strengthens our resistance to disease.
Essentially, we have 30 trillion cells that are begging for a good joke. Anything to get rid of the viruses, cancer cells, and bacteria clubs wreaking havoc inside our biological mechanism. Research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology has shown that immunomodulators (chemicals) are released during emotional experiences. These chemicals literally "plug into" receptors on the surface of immune cell, which can then change the molecular wiring inside the cell. In the presence of syntonic emotions, these immunomodulators actually strengthen the cell's ability to protect us.
So, if you want to protect yourself from the ravages of negative emotion that can assault you in disease, find something that allows you to laugh, laugh, laugh yourself silly (and healthy)!