When was the last time you had a good laugh? Yes laughter! A good belly laugh. I have a friend who I think is in the wrong career as she has the ability to make anyone and everyone laugh. I have travelled with her several times – what a great gift and it is always so good to be around her. I find laughter therapeutic; life can throw so much at us but one thing it should never do is stop us from having a good laugh.
Even the bible prescribes laughter. Proverbs 17:22 – “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”. The woman described in Proverbs 31 certainly figured out the value of laughter. That’s how she remained carefree even with everything she had on her plate.
Laughter is the fruit of joy. “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy” (Job 8:21). To every Christian there is given the fruit of the Spirit including an inexplicable joy from God. This joy isn’t only expressed in times of happiness and accomplishments, but also in disappointments and hurts. Even in the midst of persecution there can be joy expressed in the form of laughter because of the visions, expressions, and encouragement fed to the spirit of man through the grace of the Holy Spirit.
As children, we used to laugh hundreds of times a day, but as adults life tends to be more serious and laughter more infrequent. By seeking out more opportunities for humour and laughter, you can improve your emotional health, strengthen your relationships, find greater happiness—and even add years to your life.
Sure, it’s fun to share a good laugh. But did you know it can actually improve your health? Scientifically, it is proven that laughter is good for us, it takes more muscles to frown than to smile.
· Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh is said to relieve physical tension and stress.
· Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.
· Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
· Laughter burns calories. Ok, so it’s no replacement for going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn about 40 calories.
· Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load. Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations without holding onto bitterness or resentment.
· Laughter may even help you to live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humour outlived those who don’t laugh as much.
Two lessons I’ve learnt: first, life rarely goes as planned. Second, it’s okay to laugh! Maybe life has been a bit challenging for you lately. Or, maybe you are in a great season where the laughs can keep going. Either way, we have to remember to keep laughter and more importantly joy at the centre of each day.