Health, Humor and
There is much more to health than merely being free of illness, having good genes, or taking the right pills. The best prescription for good health involves creating the right frame of mind and connecting to the intelligence and power of your heart. With the right frame of mind, you are more likely to see and do what is needed for your health. When you are connected to your heart, you gain the conviction, passion, and power to make the necessary changes.
The heart connection also brings into play another important ingredient of health: caring for the well-being of others. It is not enough to focus solely on your own health. You are part of a web, interconnected and interdependent with everyone and everything around you. Good health consists of acting compassionately with the awareness of how your actions affect others and even future generations. Such actions benefit you, too: studies have confirmed that caring for others improves the health of your heart!
Good health is not measured by how many years you live but by how you live your years. Signs of good health include:
Having a good sense of humor is necessary for health, happiness, and stress reduction. A hearty laugh is good for the heart. It improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, and releases tension. You breathe easier after a good laugh. It promotes ideal breathing by relaxing the diaphragm, neck, and shoulders. Laughter also strengthens the immune system by stimulating the thymus — the master gland of the immune system, located near your heart.
Norman Cousins, author of Anatomy of an Illness and several other insightful books and a former professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, compared laughter to inner jogging. He said: “Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors”.
Laughter is not only healing for the body but also for the mind and spirit.
After a good laugh, we are able to think more clearly. This is one of the reasons why laughter helps us manage stress better. When under stress, the reptilian brain takes over, causing us to react to situations in ways that are often inappropriate. Laughter gets the right brain (and the left!) back on top.
Laughter works faster than valium or vodka and is free of the negative side effects. A sense of humor or a good rolling laugh can give us a lift when life is bearing heavily on us. Instead of being left flat by what life drops on you, you can rise to the occasion. Laughter can be a form of resurrection.
Humor does not have to be obscene to induce laughter, nor does it have to be laughing at someone else. A sense of humor is an attitude: a way at looking at ourselves and life that helps us rebound rather than break from mistakes and tragedy. Humor brings hope and harmony. In the words of Garrison Keillor: “Humor is not …jokes. Humor is a presence in the world — like grace — and shines on everybody.”
Phil’s definition of humor:
The key to managing stress is being aware of your choices and making the right ones.
You cannot control all the events that bring stress to your life, but you can choose healthy ways to respond to them. You can learn to connect with your inner strength and to care for yourself in ways that prevent stress and that neutralize the negative effects of stress that could not be avoided.
Managing stress well consists in recognizing at any moment and in any situation that you do have a choice. You can respond to adversity like a reptile (snapping, running, or freezing), or you can respond creatively and humanely in a way that works for yourself and those around you. Using the intelligence of your heart and humor can ensure that you will respond in the latter manner. Stress management is the art of learning to manage your inner world. The results help make a better world.
“Thank you for your presentation on Living Healthier and Happier Ever Laughter. It was wonderful. Very uplifting. Helps us to remember – If we take ourselves too seriously, there’s a chance we may end up seriously ill. Here are some comments about what people liked the best: ‘Lighthearted evening— speaker is very enthusiastic—he tickled my funny bone—Phil’s smile and energy.’ "
Carol Tyler, Program Director, St. Francis Care Center, Enfield, CT
Ann Howard, Unitarian Church of Gardner, MA
“Excellent presentation — enlightening! I liked the ‘lightness’ of it. Was amusing but educational. I would not change anything."
J. B. Bernstein, President, Mass. Association of Resident Service Housing Coordinators
“I attended your FUN seminar at St. Francis Care Center in Enfield. You gave me some great iseas to use with my mom who is in a nursing home nearby… Thank you for a great evening."
Gayle Zera, Windsor, CT
Ebert and Roeper *
*Just kidding! Unfortunately, they are too busy reviewing movies to get a chance to hear Phil speak. But thumbs up anyway!
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