By Doug Morin
Executive Director CV Volunteers In Medicine Indio, CA

We all have the choice between being happy or unhappy, and I’m pretty sure that you, like me, feel better when you’re happy. The revered philosopher Dale Carnegie said “It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.”

Dale Breckenridge Carnegie (1888 – 1955) was an American writer and lecturer and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking and interpersonal skills. He was the author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” first published in 1936, a massive bestseller that remains popular today. Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.

According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, happiness has a positive effect in lowering cortisol levels, the stress hormone that is related to health conditions like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and autoimmune diseases.  Laughter, says emerging evidence, is indeed good medicine. A laugh relaxes your body and stimulates endorphins, promoting a feeling of well-being that helps us look at stressful or unhappy situations in a new light. “Laughter therapy” decreases chronic pain and symptoms of depression and improves quality of life and resilience in cancer survivors.

According to World Laughter Tour, Inc., the brainchild of psychologist and self-proclaimed “Joyologist” Steve Wilson, Cheerman of The Bored, the creation of the tour was an idea that came to him during a 1998 lecture tour to India. In India, laughter clubs were referred to as ‘Hasya Yoga.” Struck by a noble impulse, Steve flew an Indian physician to the United States, whereupon he delivered a series of lectures and demonstrations. The reaction to a laughter exercise program was both startling and telling, growing instant curiosity and support from the media.  His World Laughter Tour was officially launched in July of 1998 and it has been recognized as a significant global influence in the practical applications of laughter and humor for health and world peace.

We’ve all heard our parents, friends, and doctors say, “Get some exercise- it’s good for you.” But when does anyone tell you exactly how exercise can help you and how much of which kind you need? A recent Mayo Clinic article calls exercise “powerful medicine” with little to no adverse effect. They offer 6 reasons that exercise is effective: It improves blood flow to the brain and feeds the growth of new blood vessels and brain cells. It relieves stress, improves sleep, and lifts your spirit. It’s the world’s best skin treatment because the increased blood flow delivers oxygen and nutrients that improve skin health. It helps slow down the aging of cells. It promotes and speeds up healing. And it makes you svelte.