“There is one thing in this good old world that is positively sure—happiness is for all who strive to be happy—and those who laugh are happy."
The quote is from Hollywood icon, Douglas Fairbanks, from his book Laugh and Live.Though published in 1917, the sentiments expressed in the book are timeless. Douglas’ book was published in hardcover as well as in six inspirational pamphlets. The characters he played on film exhibited the same good nature and positive attitude that he practiced in his personal life.
With a casual air, Douglas explains in Laugh and Live that "happiness is for all who strive to be happy." He believed that laughter, energy, happiness, and success are available to everyone; all you need is direction and practice. From "Taking Stock of Ourselves" to "Consideration for Others," the book tackles a wide range of topics to help the reader get the most out of life.
The first chapter asks the question “Do you ever laugh?” Douglas feels that laughter “braces me up—makes me feel fine!—and keeps me in prime mental condition. Laughter is a physiological necessity. The nerve system requires it. The deep, forceful chest movement in itself sets the blood to racing thereby livening up the circulation—which is good for us. Perhaps you hadn't thought of that. Perhaps you didn't realize that laughing automatically re-oxygenates the blood —your blood—and keeps it red? It does all of that, and besides, it relieves the tension from your brain.”
Douglas suggested an experiment. Put his book down and laugh out loud. I stopped reading, took a deep breath, and started laughing. My fake laugh, a deep HO-HO-HO, sounded so funny that I began laughing for real and suddenly the room that had been quiet came to life. Two energetic dogs were barking and trying to jump in my lap. The laughter experiment was a success. The dogs and I were feeling happy and invigorated.
At the close of the book, Douglas hopes that he has "been instrumental in adding to the world’s store of happiness." Hope, Joe, and I think he has been very successful!
More on the benefits of laughter!