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Laughter is a great stress reducer. If you have never read Norman Cousins’ account of his experience of self-healing as described in Anatomy of an Illness, I encourage you to do so. When diagnosed with an incurable illness, he brought a movie projector into his hospital room and watched reel after reel of old classic comedy movies, laughing himself into hysterics. He found he could relieve his otherwise significant pain on a consistent basis through laughter. That practice, along with some other novel therapies, resulted in his healing. He left his prestigious journalistic career and taught on the faculty of a major medical school about the power of the mind and emotions in healing the body of disease.

Next to love, laughter has been described as the second-most powerful emotion we can express. It has been said that laughter is like internal jogging—it stimulates the respiratory system, oxygenates the body, relaxes tense muscles, and releases pleasure-producing chemicals in the brain. You cannot laugh and be mad, laugh and be tense, laugh and be stressed. Laughter is low-calorie, caffeine-free, and has no salt, preservatives, or additives. It’s 100 percent natural and one size fits all.

Laughter is truly God’s gift to humankind. You can get high on laughter but never overdose. Laughter is contagious—once it starts little can be done to stop it. Laughter never felt bad, committed a crime, started a war or broke up a relationship. Laughter is shared by the giver and the receiver. Laughter costs nothing and it’s non-taxable. Laughter is a trend-setter. If we can find ways to laugh first thing in the morning, it may in fact set the trend for the rest of the day.

Let me close by telling you the most important use of laughter I have ever discovered: The ability to laugh at ourselves. I stopped taking myself too seriously years ago and it was the best decision I ever made. Don’t get me wrong—I’m still serious about what I do. But not so serious that I can’t be the first one to laugh when I mess up (which happens all too often—it’s why I spend so much time laughing!). When you’re the first person to laugh at yourself, you leave little room for others to laugh at you.

This is adapted from Zig’s book Better than Good.

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The Power of the Word: Part 2
By Zig Ziglar

About the Author: Zig Ziglar

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A talented author and speaker, Zig Ziglar has an appeal that transcends barriers of age, culture, and occupation. Since 1970, he has traveled over five million miles across the world delivering powerful life improvement messages, cultivating the energy of change. Since 1970, an extensive array of Ziglar audio, video, books, and training manuals have been utilized by small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, U.S. Government agencies, churches, school districts, prisons, and non-profit associations, affecting lives in a profound way.
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