It may be possible to incorporate laugher into daily activities, just as is done with other heart-healthy activities, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. The recommendation for a healthy heart may one day be exercise, eat right and laugh a few times a day.
-Michael Miller, MD, Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center
From "Half Empty, Half Full," by Susan C. Vaughan, M.D.:
In Maurice Sendak's perennially popular children's book Where the Wild Things Are, Max, in his wolf suit, makes mischief of one kind and another until his mother, in exasperation, calls him a wild thing. "I'll eat you up!" Max says menacingly, and is sent to bed without his supper. In his dreams he travels to "the place where the wild things are," and they "roar their terrible roars and gnash their terrible teeth and roll their terrible eyes and show their terrible claws" until Max commands "Be still!" and tames them with the magic trick of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking.
[Cultivating optimism] is about the wild things within each of us, the tumult of inner feelings that each of us must learn to tame. As Max's experience suggests, our emotions can get us into trouble in relationships. But they are also essential if we are to conjure the creatures that make life interesting. Ultimately, it is our ability to learn to control our feelings without quashing them that gives us the capacity for an optimistic view of ourselves and the world around us. Optimism depends upon our ability to become the king of all the wild things. As we shall see in this book, it requires mothers or others who will send us to bed without supper but who will keep it warm as well, ready for us when we return, lonely, from where the wild things are. Optimism arises from the inner controls that these early life experiences give us, controls that are etched in the circuitry of our brains. But as we'll see, if you're still struggling with inner monsters in adulthood and the pessimistic perspective on yourself and the world that they bring, there is hope. Because optimism and pessimism are the result of our inner processes, we can improve it with practice, learn the magic tricks we need to make us king. Let the wild rumpus begin!
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