Most people take life way too seriously! And sometimes recovery is taken a little too seriously too. Yes, it’s incredibly important to follow the structure and merge into the culture of your recovery program in order to make the transition from addiction to sobriety. However, there are many moments in which it’s important to laugh, enjoy life, and discover the goodness that life has to offer.
Not only can laughter change your perspective almost immediately, there are many health benefits to laughing, both physical and mental. Laughing can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, increase blood flow, increase memory and focus, which are both often impaired during addiction, improve creativity, and reduce stress. Perhaps you and a friend can read a joke a day to get the belly rolling and the smiles spreading from one ear to the other. Perhaps laughter can become a regular part of your drug addiction therapy.
In fact, laughter is such a healing force that this was precisely the way that Norman Cousins healed himself. Cousins was an American political journalist, author, professor, and activist. He was also a Professor of Medical Humanities for the School of Medicine at UCLA. As a professor, Cousins did research on the biochemistry of human emotions. He had already had the belief that feelings and emotions were the essence to healing and fighting illness.
In fact, when he was ill he took his research on positive emotions and applied to his own healing process. When he battled heart disease, he worked to heal himself by taking large doses of Vitamin C and, as he put it, trained himself to laugh on a regular basis. When his healing seemed to be taking an upswing and began writing. Eventually, he wrote a collection of best-selling non-fiction books on illness and healing, as well as a 1980 autobiographical memoir, Human Options: An Autobiographical Notebook.
Many years later, Cousins was diagnosed with a form of arthritis then called Marie-Strumpell’s disease. He again applied his laughter and large doses of Vitamin C. However, because he was told that he had little chance of surviving, he developed a recovery program that not only incorporated mega doses of Vitamin C and laughter, but also a positive attitude, love, faith, and hope.
How Laughter Helps With Pain
He stimulated periods of laughing by watching Marx Brothers films. “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter,” said Cousins, “had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep.
When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, we would switch on the motion picture projector again and not infrequently, it would lead to another pain-free interval.” Cousins struggle with this illness is detailed in the book and movie Anatomy of an Illness.
Cousins has been an inspiration to many who have also used laughter as a means for healing. Of course, any recovering addict can incorporate laughter into their drug addiction therapy to support their sobriety and prevent relapse. In fact, laughter is a means for healing around the world and bringing laughter to the wounded, sick, and dying is the mission for many American and international organizations.
How Activities Make You Happy
In fact, there is even something called Laughter Yoga. It’s a practice of inviting laughter into your life on a regular basis. Laughter Yoga includes inducing laughter, using relaxation techniques, and yogic breathing in order to stay positive and invite positive emotions into one’s day.
There’s a good chance that your drug addiction therapy currently doesn’t include Laughter Yoga, or it might even be missing laughter entirely. If you’re on the path to sobriety and laughter feels like a good choice, let it be a tool to help heal your addiction.
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