Laughter, It’s Good for the Heart

November 9, 2011 at 11:29 am
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By Julie Ruel, Social Media Manager, Stanford Blood Center

Being happy in life is a goal that many people across the globe have in common. So how is it then that we achieve happiness? Over the last decade or so, this has become a hot topic. Psychologists have plunged into the science of what brings people happiness and how to make it sustainable.

HopeLab, a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for young people with chronic illness, has been experimenting with this subject through the JOY Campaign. Their mission with this project is to create and capture moments of joy and share them with the world. And capturing these moments is exactly what happens when they turn up in various locations with their photo booth in tow. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like to pull that curtain closed and be ridiculous in front of a camera that doesn’t judge?

Last week on Halloween we had the treat of getting our blood donors involved when HopeLab set up shop at our Mountain View Center. It’s been said that expressing gratitude and practicing acts of kindness are excellent ways to give your happiness level a boost. So perhaps these people were already a step ahead as they arrived ready to give a pint of blood – a beautiful example of expressing kindness toward others. But what we saw were grown adults leaving their inhibitions behind and stepping into the booth. And what followed were four flashes and laughter so genuine and uninhibited, I think these folks may have even surprised themselves!

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It’s these moments of spontaneous silliness that keep us young at heart. Let’s work on making these happy moments lasting moments. Think about what you’re grateful for. Show compassion for someone who needs it. Maybe you’re already doing something kind and generous as part of your regular routine –be conscious of it! In the words of one philosopher, “Without kindness, there can be no true joy”.

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