My grandfather was one of the most positive influences in my life as a small child. I shared the most special times with him before he passed on before my eleventh birthday. He believed that Laughter is always the best medicine.

My Grandfather was diagnosed with cancer and heart disease and spent his last few weeks in a small bedroom with an oxygen tank. Next to his bed on the floor, a stack as tall as me was issues of Readers Digest magazine. I spent every afternoon and weekend sitting on the floor next to that stack of magazines reading to my Grandfather from its pages of Laughter is the Best Medicine, Life in the United States, and all the other amusing anecdotes. We would laugh together and he told me how much better he was able to breathe after exercising his lungs with laughter.

Norman Cousins is renowned for the incredible healing power of laughter in his life which he wrote about in his book Anatomy of an Illness. He discovered that when he laughed boisterously at the comedy films that he had selected, he was able to stimulate chemicals in his body that alleviated his physical pain and stimulated healing.

Science News reported recently that employees reported higher job satisfaction when they work for someone who was more humor-oriented and used humor effectively and appropriately.

Many years ago, people were institutionalized for too much laughter. Dr. Hunter "Patch" Adams believes that silliness is a virtue. He is the founder of the Gesundheit Clinic; a clinic which deals with their patients with humor and play, which they see as essential to physical and emotional health healing.

Laughter can make a bleak situation appear more tolerable and clear the energy for creative thinking. Many people have found that humor is an effective way to deal with stress. It doesn't mean that the situation is funny, or not to be taken seriously. Humor releases endorphins that can assist you in working with or moving through a difficult situation.

How much better do you feel about anything in your life, after you have had a great belly laugh. (Except my friend who just had tummy surgery, but she’ll make up for it soon)

I’m very picky about what will prompt me to laughter. I love jokes, parodies, skits and sitcoms which are clever enough in words and actions to surprise me to laughter without having to resort to any racial, gender, political or personal attacks or putdowns.

One of my all time favorite funny skits was seen on the Carol Burnett show. Yes, I’m aging myself as I let you know that I saw this when it was first telecast. Now you can see it on the internet.

In this Gone With the Wind parody ("Went With the Wind") a broke Scarlett O'Hara (Carol Burnett) tears the curtains off Tara's windows to create a dress, as you may remember Scarlett did in the book and epic film. However, instead of emerging in the iconic green velvet grown, she descends the stairs wearing the curtains intact — complete with a curtain rod thrown over her shoulders doubling as shoulder pads, and the tassel from the tie back as a hat.

What created the laughter was the total surprise of this moment. Even Carol Burnett reported that the crew and her fellow actors did not have a clue about her and Bob Mackie’s plan until the second she appeared at the top of the stairs. One of the longest laughs in TV history was created because it was not what we expected, it was better.

Readers Digest may have coined the phrase, Laughter is the Best Medicine, and they are right. It can reduce stress, stimulate healing, raise your energy level and assist your attitude. I still read the jokes in Readers Digest and I still laugh and I know my Grandfather is still laughing with me.

"We must also be careful to avoid ingesting toxins in the form of violent TV programs, video games, movies, magazines, and books. When we watch that kind of violence, we water our own negative seeds, or tendencies, and eventually we will think and act out of those seeds."~ Thich Nhat Hahn ~

Excerpt from book Stress Out, by Sumner M Davenport, Self Investment Publishing Company ISBN# 9781438284293. Scheduled for release in Fall 2009.
Book chapter co-authors invited. Contact Sumner for details.

Author's Bio: 

Results Coach; Self Worth Advocate; Bounce-back Expert; Author; Speaker.

As a Results Coach, Sumner Davenport works in harmony with her clients to assist them in discovering what is true for themselves, growing their businesses and surpassing their personal goals. Her greatest passion is seeing people live the life of their dreams while assisting others to do the same.

Sumner is an advocate of Self Investment - NOT self improvement, which begins with understanding the difference between the Self, (the person, the being) and a person's behaviors.

She encourages people to question their premature cognitive commitments and discover their own truth for their lives.

As a published author, Sumner works with aspiring authors, brings authors together in joint projects and assists published authors to find greater marketing exposure through Self Investment Publishing Company.

She is sought after as a speaker and is quoted often. One of her quotes was voted to be included in the Top 10 Healthy Thoughts of 2007.