What could be fun about asthma? Finding it hard to breathe is certainly nothing to laugh at. Perhaps you feel offended or even shocked by our putting together “fun” and “asthma.” Asthma is a life-threatening and debilitating disease, and we do not mean to trivialize its importance. However, we have found that the FUN approach can be a powerful and effective antidote. And in light of this we have chosen it as the foundation of our mindbody healing system.
THE ESSENTIALS OF HAVING FUN
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Fun is a way of life; it’s light and lighthearted. It’s the opposite of heavy and serious. Fun is the attitude that Norman Cousins, author of Anatomy of an Illness, used to heal himself of a disease that his doctors had said was irreversible. Fun is embodied in our having a sense of humor about life’s disappointments, our losses, our pain, our errors, ourselves. Fun is a natural, organic part of life that many of us have forgotten. Except for children. For kids even crossing the street, going to the grocery store, or eating an ice cream cone can be fun. As adults we tend to lose this natural sense of enjoyment. Our fun depends on our circumstances. When our lives become painful, we tend to hold onto the pain and embody it. We feel tense, stressed out, overburdened. Our response is to tighten our muscles, to forgo smiles and laughter, to take life very seriously. And eventually this manifests as illness.
Fun, humor, and laughter provide the freedom from seriousness that is essential to living asthma free. The symptoms of asthma are the opposite of fun in every way. Instead of opening you up, loosening the muscles, relaxing you, asthma narrows you down, constricts, stresses you out. Joy opens the heart and the lungs, just as fear and rancor close and block them. Fun, humor, laughter, and joy create a pause in our suffering, transform it, and give us the room to relax and to breathe. Your Committee members will deny this to their last breath, but even in the throes of an asthma attack, shifting your perspective, taking time out from the debilitating beliefs you hold about what may happen, and smiling instead of frowning can relax your facial, neck, chest, back, and stomach muscles. This allows you to break the cycle of tension and fear and, in turn, can relieve the symptoms. Do we mean that you should ignore your symptoms as you gasp for breath? Of course not. What it does mean is that you take time out to see the asthma in a new light, one in which you set aside your prejudices and preconceived ideas about illness.