We can’t take life too seriously! No, we just can’t! Especially when we are ill.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 7:22)
We may do the right things when we struggle to regain good health – eat well, sleep and wake up on time, exercise, pray – but we need that extra boost in our immune system brought along by a hearty good laugh over a funny joke spoken at the right time. Do you watch comedy shows? Famous sitcoms in my younger days were “Friends,” “Ally McBeal,” “Drake and Josh.” Which one/s did you watch? What do you watch now? We’re probably too busy now and we rely so much on Yahoo News, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on the latest news and trends. It would be “lucky” if we can view a 3-minute feed that contains humor! More likely, we’re flooded with the depressing news on calamities brought by climate change, mass shootings by deranged individuals, violence by irate immigrants or outright terrorists, even tragic pictures of refugees drowning.
Medical studies have proven that the Bible is right! A cheerful heart does wonders to your health! So, let’s lighten up and burst into laughter! Must be the reason why the “holy laughter” showed up in revivals like “The Toronto Blessing.” The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Love, Joy, Peace! He brings us out of our depression through laughter! Unfortunately, it’s not everyday that He shows up in this manner. However, the Holy Spirit being present or not, still, the effect of a good hearty laugh does wonders to our bodies! It releases endorphins and all those “feel-good” hormones that in turn boost our immune system. When our body is battling a disease, that is just what we need – a bolstered immune system! Eating well, resting and exercise do that, too, but so does laughter! We all need a few minutes of laughter everyday! On the other hand, depression or even just a serious disposition can dampen our immune system. In fact, those who are depressed have a lot more trouble recovering from illness compared to those who are in high spirits or just have a positive disposition.
I have lately been suffering so much from short-term memory loss and my friends call it our “senior moment.” Hmmm, but I just came across this study saying laughter can benefit many seniors like me! Laughter reduces memory loss and lowers the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies! You can read the article here: Laughter Really is the Best Medicine.
Nowadays they even have laughter therapy in CTCA (Cancer Treatment Centers of America). Their therapy sessions are not based on jokes or comedy shows but on laughter as a physical activity. It may sound weird and unnatural but once the patients actually go through the motions of making the laughing sounds it triggers them to genuinely laugh because laughter is a contagious thing! It is particularly effective when done in a group. You can read about it here: Laughter Therapy.
I read some articles online affirming that laughter boosts the immune system. The most thorough article I found says in fact, it benefits us physically, mentally and socially. It lowers stress hormones, decreases pain, relaxes the whole body, increases our energy and protects us from heart disease. Among suggested activities to create laughter are: watching a comedy show or movie, reading the funny pages, seeking out funny people, sharing a good joke with family or friends, playing with a pet or children, doing something silly, making time for fun activities like karaoke, bowling, etc, and joining a laughter yoga club. You might care to read the article here: Laughter is the Best Medicine
I have not heard of laughter yoga before so I looked up this site, and it does look interesting. Even just watching other people laugh made me laugh a bit, too! Laughter Yoga Here’s a sample session from that site: A Laughter Yoga session.
A study has shown that laughter, whether induced by something funny and entertaining, or self-induced without any stimulus, does benefit us, as the brain does not discriminate on how the laughter comes.
Although I have not accessed a study quantifying the therapeutic benefits of laughter in a clinical study, I believe having a good laugh, even just for a few minutes (an article said 15 minutes daily) would do us a lot of good. Of course, the best thing would be to call or visit an old friend whom you haven’t seen in ages. I find that when I connect with my high school classmates we spontaneously laugh, even just at the sight of each other or just hearing each other’s voice over the phone. I believe it’s the happiness of connecting with people who represent the happy moments of our lives which triggers the laughter. I have a best friend from college with whom I didn’t have contact for at least ten years. When we talked on the phone for the first time after that period we laughed for at least one or two minutes without having to say anything to each other beyond “Hello, how have you been?” ! We just laughed most likely from the sheer happiness of re-connecting. Now it’s not everyday we can have opportunities like that but if we have to laugh daily, and do not have a laughter club or maybe even a funny person to laugh with / at, I guess the most practical solution would be to look up funny things online. Hence, I have decided to collect my funny items just right here on this section! Now my humor might not be the same as yours but I will try to keep to what would be considered generically or universally funny. So, watch out for this page!
All Scripture references are from the 1984 New International Version, unless otherwise specified.
(1) Shah, Yagana. (2014, April 22). New Study Proves that Laughter Really is the Best Medicine [News Feature]. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/22/laughter-and-memory_n_5192086.html Access Date Jan. 28, 2016.
(2) Cancer Treatment Centers of America Staff. (undated). Laughter Therapy [Article]. Retrieved from http://www.cancercenter.com/treatments/laughter-therapy/ Access Date Feb 2, 2016.
(3) Smith, Melinda (M.A.) and Segal, Jeanne (Ph.D.). (2016, Jan.) Laughter is the Best Medicine [Article]. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm Access Date Feb 2, 2016.
(4) PubMed Staff. (2010, Nov.-Dec.). The Therapeutic Value of Laughter in Medicine [Abstract]. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21280463 Access date Feb 2, 2016.
Photos used with permission.
If you wish to cite this blog, citation is as follows: PureJoyLand. (2016, Feb 3). Lighten Up [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://purejoyland.com/2016/01/lighten-up/