The Art of Healing by Bernie Siegel, MD (self-help).
I've reviewed this book before, but for several reasons, I feel compelled to review it again. Firstly, I'm honored that Siegel has endorsed my upcoming book, Writing for Bliss, which will be published in September 2017; and also because of his chapter in The Art of Healing called, "Laugh Out Loud." I applaud Siegel's emphasis on the importance of laughing in our lives for our physical and psychological health.
He starts the chapter by saying, "Love and laughter are the elements we need in order to build and hold our lives together" (p. 125). Siegel reminds us that that the best therapeutic activities, such as laughing are free, and that true laughter "is an outburst or expression of breath that involves the vocal cords and comes from deep in the belly" (p. 126).
He recommends spontaneous laughter while maintaining a childlike sense of humor throughout the entire day. This results in a lightness of being which fosters overall well-being. He also suggests finding something funny in serious situations, or to try viewing the world with the awe and wonder of a child.
Siegel shares numerous anecdotes about his interactions with his patients, and explains how laughter nurtured and fostered their healing. Finally, Siegel says, and I strongly concur, "Laughter is contagious, so be a carrier."
At the end of the chapter, Siegel has what he calls "Doctor's Rx." Try this; it really works:
- Stand in front of a mirror or while facing a friend.
- Raise your eyebrows, take a deep breath, and chant the meditation Ohm for three seconds.
- Now relax your eyebrows, smile, and make as many hee, hee, hee sounds as you can until you've expelled all your breath.
- Take one more breath, again raise your eyebrows, and again chant, Ohm.
- Now relax your eyebrows, smile, and chant, ha, ha, ha, until you use up all your breath.