A Light and Merry Heart - by Gloria

My personality type tends to over-react to stressors, so I fall into a category of being “highly sensitive”.  I’ve had to work hard, for instance to break the habit of gasping while my husband is driving the car when I’m suddenly aware of what seems to be to be a potentially dangerous scenario, (which could make matters even worse as he reacts to my outburst).  I’m learning to relax and trust.  I remember as a child when my five-years younger sister and I accidentally started a fire in the skillet on the stove.  I was frozen in a panic while she simply reached up and put the fire out.  As a nurse, I’ve always carefully chosen my work settings, compensating for this tendency - and for good reason, stayed out of the emergency room!

Learning to relax under pressure, instead of grabbing at the oars in a desperate attempt to save ourselves, has a real payoff.  If a merry heart does good “like a medicine”, that merry heart needs to hang in there in the bad times, as well as the good times, and maybe especially then for the benefit of our overall health and well-being.

There were seven nurses at the Hufeland Clinic which I watched with interest.  All of them, though varying greatly in personality, seem to have mastered the art!  As soon as something would go amiss in the infusion room, they would begin lightening the mood with their cheerful and efficient ways until everyone was chuckling, including me.  Though I was not always able to catch on to the nuances of the humor because of the language barrier just the sheer laughter lifted me.

Laughter produces endorphins and improves immune function.  On the other hand an over reaction to stressors can hinder immune function.  There is a spontaneous kind of childlike laughter many of us abandoned somewhere along the road of life when we allowed its stressors to trick us into believing that life has too many dangers to let your guard down.

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