Smiles better

“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”

Mark Twain – author (30 November, 1835 – 21 April, 1910)

IT was the 100th birthday of ‘The First Lady of Television’ Lucille Ball recently (August 6).

This beautiful and engaging woman brought laughter and joy to countless people across the globe.

Her 1950s TV show, I Love Lucy, in which she starred with real-life husband Desi Arnaz, is still shown in disparate countries around the world.

The black and white comedy, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in October, is timeless in its appeal.

The continued popularity of the show is largely down to its star Ms Ball, whose carefree and childlike demeanour towards seemingly perplexing situations left viewers in stitches.

Had she been alive today, she surely would still be making us laugh.

They say laughter is the best medicine. It actually really is.

There is a wealth of scientific evidence that engaging your funny bone keeps your body and mind in tip top shape.

Laughter releases endorphins which have pain-relieving effects on the body.

Studies have proved laughter is a great boost to the immune system – increasing cells which attack viruses and fight diseases.

Stress hormones are killed by laughter and it also reduces blood-sugar levels.

Evidence from a American College of Cardiology meeting several years ago found that laughter is good for your heart and brain because it helps blood vessels carrying vital oxygen to these organs to function better. It also helps speed up wounds and infections.

The University of Maryland’s Michael Miller, M.D. said that his study showed laughter was as good for people’s arteries as aerobic exercise.

He told Psychology Today: “Thirty minutes of exercise three times a week, and 15 minutes of laughter on a daily basis is probably good for the vascular system.”

A report in ScienceDaily.com last year found that having a good laugh keeps you healthy from now and into your later years.

In the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) study which comprised of health records and blood samples over seven years of 53,500 people, project leader Professor Sven Svebak found that: “There is reason to believe that sense of humor continues to have a positive effect on mental health and social life, even after people have become retirees, although the positive effect on life expectancy could not be shown after the age of 75. At that point, genetics and biological aging are of greater importance.”

He continued: “But it is not enough to be full of laughter. Humour is all about ways of thinking and often occurs in a process or in dialogue with others. It does not need to be externalized.

“Commonly, people with the same sense of humour tend to enjoy themselves together and can communicate humour without huge gestures. A twinkle in the eye can be more than enough.”

Lucille Ball was an extraordinary woman who was stunning behind her goofy physicality and witty within her outwardly youthful and dizzy humour. She certainly had a twinkle in her eye.

“I’m happy that I have brought laughter because I have been shown by many the value of it in so many lives, in so many ways.”

Lucille Ball – comedienne, actress, model (6 August, 1911 – 26 April, 1989)

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