THIS I BELIEVE
One of the Biblical proverbs states,
“A merry heart doth good like a medicine, but a down-cast spirit dryth up the bones.” This statement is echoed by philosophers with “As a man thinketh, so is he.” and, “Laughter is the best medicine” is the well-known work of Norman Cousins. Great thinkers have been telling us this for more than 2000 years and I am thoroughly convinced.
At seventy years of age, and as a full-time working nurse, I see patients and co-workers with both positive outlooks and negative ones. The people I observe who make a real effort to put a positive spin on both their thoughts and demeanors are the ones to emulate.
They are healthier. They are happier. They handle life’s built-in pit-falls easier, and recover faster from trauma or illness. They manage all life can throw at them and keep finding things and situations to smile at and to enjoy.
Health-care workers deal with clients from all walks of life. There is no class distinction when people are stressed by illness or injury. The true spirit of the person is there for all the caretakers to observe. They can be octogenarians who have the cheerful outlook of happy children. They may be twenty and thirty year-olds with the demeanor of elderly curmudgeons.
I believe this can be a conscious choice. We can choose to lift our spirits, when they flag and we can choose to let them grind us into the dust.
This does not, of course, apply to the clinically depressed individual who is incopable of the efforts entailed to overcome that condition. None-the-less, even the depressives among us would be better off choosing to think brighter thoughts.
The music to which we listen influences our state of mind and the manner in which we can deal with our day-to-day life experiences. We actually become more brisk and efficient when we listen to Sousa’s marches. We become more cheerful when the music is jaunty. Gloomy or atonal music is a drag on everyone.
As a new mother, over 50 years ago, my own mother urged me to “Smile at him every time he looks at you.” At that time I thought, “Thats silly! Who wouldn’t smile at him?” In those intervening years I have seen people who didn’t smile at their babies and who didn’t enjoy them. I felt pity for the individuals and even more for their children. joy is one of the easiest to spread commodities in the world but few people can be convinced of that thruth.
Humans are the only animals that truly laugh. We are the only animals who can make a conscious choice of living with joy in our hearts or with black thoughts clouding our very existence. It is too bad how few realize this and actually practice these principles.
Have you even seen a face that was not improved by the simple act of smiling? Conversely, how many really handsome , or pretty faces have you seen turn homely with frowns and frown-lines.
When our parents admonished us. “Be careful you face may grow that way!” It was more thruth than fiction. The act of smiling makes wrinkles, it’s true, but a frown makes more homely wrinkles that are truly an aging factor. Why not opt for the least costly face-lift known to manykind and try thinking kind, positive and pleasant thoughs. Try smiling just because it feels good. This may not make you live longer or have a healthier life but you surely will enjoy it more.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.