Laugh to live long and age gracefully

February 19th, 2008 - 3:26 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) Laughter is the “secret weapon” to live long and age gracefully, apart from positive thinking and exercise, says a new book. Laughter, positive thinking, recreation and playing a role in family life are key to leading a healthy and happy life, said J.N. Sharma, author of “How to age gracefully and be happy”, a book released here Monday evening.

Former Jammu and Kashmir governor Jagmohan realeased the 100-page book at the India International Centre, and the large audience, comprising many elderly, cracked jokes, proving that they were still young at heart.

“We cannot ignore the reality that with age often come illness, frailty and diminished energy. But if we nurture a positive life-affirming attitude, life can have pleasure and rewards at any age,” said Sharma, a retired bureaucrat.

It has been estimated that by 2011, there would be over 30 million Indians in the age group of 65 and above. “Today, quite a number of people of this age are fit and active,” he said.

“Negative thinking kills one early. The secret to live long is to be happy,” Sharma, member secretary of a voluntary organisation Citizenship Development Society, told IANS.

Narrating his personal experience, Jagmohan said that while he was in Jammu and Kashmir, he had banned government doctors from private practice and was told that the medical fraternity were discussing how he might fall ill and need a doctor.

“But I didn’t give the doctors a chance. I walk every morning and eat less. This is the best way to lead a healthy and productive life,” he said.

M.M. Sabharwal, president emeritus, Helpage India, an organisation that works for the elderly, said that though life span had doubled, the joint family system had broken down and families were now finding it tough to look after the elderly.

“They are ignored as they don’t have any money so they feel emotionally insecure and battle loneliness,” he said, adding that all this leads to anxiety and depression.

“This stress is injurious to health and leads to blood pressure, high pulse rate and cardiac problems. And the answer is laugher. One should have a sense of humour,” he stressed.

“Please laugh. It not only elevates you, but releases a hormone that results in a sense of well-being. So remove stress. Don’t be a pessimist. Be an optimist. Happiness can be found in oneself,” said Sabharwal.

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