On laughing, Margorie Hinkley once said:
The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.
If that isn’t the truth! When you look at it that way, the choice is ours. But sometimes that choice doesn’t always feel so easy… crying often seems to come a little more effortlessly. Remembered the old saying: “laughter is the best medicine”. How true IS that? Should I be LAUGHING more? Does it make a difference?
Well, in Proverbs 17:22 it states: “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” I thought about this more… “MEDICINE”? That’s pretty profound. So I looked into a little scientific proof to back this simple ‘medicinal benefit’ up…
Laughing releases endorphins. Endorphins reduce the sensation of pain + stimulate positive emotion. Their release is critical for stress relief + literally- our mental health! That’s pretty amazing. “Laughter increases the oxygenation of the organs, boosts circulation, + contributes to an overall sense of well-being”. WOW, maybe laughter IS the best medicine! Sounds like I just may need to LAUGH a little MORE!?
Yes, sounds simple, however, I learned that true laughter occurs unconsciously. (Which would explain why it’s hard to laugh on demand). This could throw a tricky twist to our “choosing laughter” theory. HOWEVER, while we don’t consciously decide to produce laughter, we CAN consciously provoke it! So? Sounds like we can choose to ‘have an optimistic outlook on things, finding the humor in the situation’, which can potentially ‘inhibit’ laughter. I know that feeling all too well- When I’ve just finished mopping the floor, to turn around + see my toddler has tipped over the potted plant all over? And in that moment, when I do CHOOSE to laugh about it, it sure does feel a whole lot better than getting upset over it. However, I also know those days when laughing sounds like the last thing I want to do. Those are probably the days when that laughter ‘medicine’ is probably most critical.
But HOW? How can we laugh more, even when we don’t feel like it? Well, the good news is: laughter is social + contagious. We can laugh simply at the sound of laughter itself!
So, here are 3 simple ideas for laughing:
ONE: Watch funny YouTube videos! It is loaded with all sorts of clips bound to make you laugh. I tried this myself on a crummy day- and it works! It triggered an uncontrolled response in my body + before I knew it I was laughing.
TWO: Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people. Or good friends! It was so interesting to read in an MSNBC study by Dr Robert Provine, that most laughter is not about humor, it’s about relationships between people. Laughter in casual conversation is a naturally occurring response!
THREE: If you happen to be covered in children, that’s perfect. Pause a moment to watch/play with them. Young children seem to laugh more than adults. I swear, all I have to do to get my toddler to laugh his head off, is pretend to ‘bonk’ my head! ha ha. And it’s hard NOT to laugh when those around you are!
I have learned how truly incredible it is that each of us were BORN with the capacity to laugh! Laughter is a universal sign that is understood in every language. Isn’t it so great to think that God instilled this ‘medicine’ within each of us? Ha ha ha… Go ahead- TRY IT OUT!!!