By Jesse Anson Dawn

Presently answering the question:
“How do positive states of mind such as laughter affect the way we age?”

Dear Reader,
I’ll title my answer to this important question with the caption of:

Indeed, just as the body needs to regularly release excess and flush the stink and steam of it out of our system, so does the mind need to decompress and excrete collected “do-do.” Evidence of this is illustrated by a malady called “senile plaques,” a condition identified by a surplus of unreleased brain cell residue which damages mind/body function — the same cellular “plaque” which has been found to be a cause of Alzheimer’s disease. But now we are learning that the body has its very own mental floss — ingenious inner cleansers called imipramines, neuropeptides and neurohumors, all elements which are spurred by positive states of mind. So who needs Alzheimer’s and surgical face-lifts when cures for the woes of excess are already inside of us —internal healer/rejuvenators that spring into action through uplifting emotions such as laughing or singing? In fact, there’s even a large group of doctors so sold on the medicinal effects of laughter, that they’ve formed the American Association for Therapeutic Humor, a group which not only prescribes such things as laxatives for regularity, but potent doses of regularhilarity! Oh yes, regular doses of “tickle-therapy” that they administer by way of software programs which are proving to be both successful and effective.

But of course no medical degree is needed to sell chuckles, anywhere or anytime (as in Budapest, where a regular sight are “laugh kiosks” — outdoor booths where the giggle-needy can hear a joke for only 35 cents!) Or in India, where the latest “alternative medicine” rage is the “laughing club” — public clinics based on the philosophy of Dr. Madran Kataria, a physician who alleviates people’s ills by way of his “laugh yoga.” And his idea has become so popular that during the 1990s over a hundred of these ha-ha havens have opened up throughout India, places where “patients” engage in silent laughs, out-loud laughs and the roaring “Bombay Laugh” — woo-ha-haing themselves into healthful rejuvenation!

This “laughing club” practice reminds me of the wonderful philosopher Alan Watts (who I met and befriended during the 1970s and wrote about in Never “Old”). During the 60s and 70s, Watts gave lectures that got huge crowds rocking with laughter, not with jokes, but again, by telling them to do it just for the sake of laughing. Alan’s special brand of “laugh yoga” came from realizing that most people cannot alter their emotional habits without being taught how, and so Watts instructed people to laugh, thereby freeing up what may be stifled laughter inside. For just as the deaf have trouble speaking because they can’t listen to themselves, people can’t really laugh without hearing their inner, creative voice telling them to LIGHTEN UP! 

For the whole self-renewal story, Jesse Dawn’s (Pulitzer Prize nominated) 258-page book, Never “Old”, can be received free of charge by purchasing his new book, “The Rejuvenator’s Bible: Working Ways to Create Perpetual Youth Naturally” (237 pages) for the retail price of $15. To receive both books for the price of one, call World Changing Books at (800) 736-3922 and order with Visa or MC, or send check payable to World Changing Books, POB 5491, Hilo, HI 96720. ($15 includes books, plus free 1st class postage) You can also order by e-mailing .

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