Good morning. It is Wednesday, January 19, 2022. Jeanette Stark here.
I had a friend who passed away several years ago from lung cancer, but I will never forget what she was doing one day when I visited. She was watching America’s Funniest Home Videos. We sat there and laughed and laughed. After that episode was over, another came on. She then explained that they had recorded many episodes. They had bought funny movies and subscribed to a comedy channel.
Somewhere along her cancer journey she had made the decision to laugh as much as possible. Here she was, sick, balding, with a very bleak future, but she chose to laugh. I will never forget that!
A good laugh has great short-term and long-term effects.
According to the Mayo Clinic, when you start to laugh, it doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body.
Laughter can stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
It can activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure.
The result? A relaxed feeling.
Laughing can soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Laughter isn't just a quick pick-me-up, though. It's also good for you over the long term.
Laughter can improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
It can relieve pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
It can increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
It may also improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your stress, depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier. It can also improve your self-esteem.
Are you afraid that you have an underdeveloped — or nonexistent — sense of humor? No problem. Humor can be learned. In fact, developing or refining your sense of humor may be easier than you think.
Put humor on your horizon. Find a few simple items, such as photos, greeting cards or comic strips, that make you chuckle. Then hang them up at home or in your office, or collect them in a file or notebook. Keep funny movies, TV shows, books, magazines or comedy videos on hand for when you need an added humor boost. Look online at joke websites or silly videos. Listen to humorous podcasts. Go to a comedy club.
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Find a way to laugh about your own situations and watch your stress begin to fade away. Even if it feels forced at first, practice laughing. It does your body good.
Share a laugh. Make it a habit to spend time with friends who make you laugh. And then return the favor by sharing funny stories or jokes with those around you.
Knock, knock. Browse through your local bookstore or library's selection of joke books and add a few jokes to your list that you can share with friends.
Laughter is the best medicine” (Source: Mayoclinic.org)
We were told a few thousand years ago, that laughter is good for us. God made us that way. He made us in a way that laughing can heal us. The Mayo Clinic has proof.
Proverbs 17:22 NKJV “A merry heart does good, like medicine…”
I have a friend who had a heart transplant just a couple of years ago. His wife told me just this week that as part of his healing and therapy they had these laugh groups where people practiced laughter as a group. At first it was a bit forced, but soon everyone was laughing.
A couple of years ago I watched a video where a guy on a subway began laughing at something he was listening to on his headphones. Soon, one by one, those around him started laughing. I started laughing! Tears were rolling down my cheeks I was laughing so hard. You may know this already, but laughter is contagious!
According to a new study, laughter truly is contagious: the brain responds to the sound of laughter and preps the muscles in the face to join in the mirth. (Source: livescience.com)
God made us in such an amazing and complex way. The Creator knew what we needed, and He encoded that into each of us.
Try it! You might like it! Turn that frown upside down. Now give it a little laugh even if it feels forced. See what happens. It really works!