The story goes that a certain court jester went too far one day and insulted his king. The king became so infuriated he sentenced the jester to be executed. His court prayed upon the king to have mercy for this man who had served him well for so many years. After a time, the king relented only enough to give the jester his choice as to how he would like to die.
True to form, the jester replied, “If it’s all the same to you, my Lord, I’d like to die of old age.”
Certainly in this case, a good sense of humor saved the man’s life. It’s true for us as well. We may not be faced with a situation where our wit will save us from an execution, but our sense of humor and the ability to laugh at things has proven health benefits that extend and improve our quality of life.
Norman Cousins, in his book Anatomy of an Illness, wrote about how he cured himself of cancer by laughing a good part of each day. He rented films of comedies and watched them for hours on end in his hospital room. He had nothing to lose since he’d been diagnosed as terminal. His “experiment” turned out to be a classic example of the healing powers of laughter. If it worked for Cousins with a life-threatening illness, it can work for us to enhance and protect our good health.
We should laugh often and heartily. It’s good for our digestion and our disposition. Besides, life’s too important to take seriously.