“Summer time, and the livin’ is easy. Fish are jumping, and the cotton is high.
Your daddy’s rich, and your momma’s good lookin…” Those George Gershwin lyrics from Porgy and Bess are 8 decades old, but still easy to relate to, especially as the days get shorter, the shadows get longer, and we savor the last days of our soft, short summer in Boston.
When we think of summer, we think of vacations. When my daughters were little ones, we would keep a special diary for each summer family vacation. Everyone was encouraged to make a daily entry. Everything was fair game.
Today, my daughters are successful and beautiful women. And as the summer draws to a labor day close, and the academic world comes to life, we found ourselves sitting around the dinner table this past Sunday and reliving past summer holidays. Somehow, as if by magic, those decades old vacation diaries appeared on the table, as we savored our apple pie. The memories, dimmed by the background noise of life, seemed to jump off the pages, yellowed and wrinkled by the passage of time. So there we sat for hours, reading our commentaries on vacations from years past. So hilarious, we laughed and laughed till our sides hurt!
I could not remember laughing so much in a long, long time. And when my eyes closed to a wonderful night, I marveled at how good I felt … invigorated, refreshed and uplifted. How good it was to laugh
As a physician, and a surgeon, I know how important it is for our health and well-being to nourish our five senses. Our Sunday dinner reminded me of how important it is to exercise the sixth sense— our sense of humor!
Every day we find ourselves facing difficult and trying situations. But when we laugh, somehow we are reminded that there is more than one way to look a situation. Laughter shifts our perspectives. It opens our minds to new possibilities
The scientific literature is replete with evidence documenting the importance of laughter in many aspects of health. Laughter reduces the body production of numerous stress hormones. Laughter boosts the body immune system. Laughter increases our pain tolerance and enhances our creativity. Humor has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and lessen depression. It makes us more likeable. It’s fun. And guess what…it keeps us young!
As world-renowned associate professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. David Simon has said “discussing laughter is like talking about making love or talking about a good meal. The real value is not in the description but in the experience. Let yourself get carried away with laughter”