He Who Laughs Lasts
|I love to laugh! Anyone who knows me is quite aware of this. My wife Nannette, constantly warns people not to laugh at one of my jokes (like, when I’m preaching, and people say “Amen,” I am often guilty of going a little longer). As a pastor, I’ve seen the truthfulness of Proverbs 17:22. In the New Living Translation, it reads, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” In my practice as a licensed clinical social worker, I’ve seen how practical this verse is to the treatment of various mental illnesses. I intentionally incorporate humor in every aspect of my life, from family life to public speaking. Over time,Â I have come to appreciate the overall benefits of laughter, which I will now touch on, briefly.
BenefitsÂ to the Body
Many people do not know that a goodÂ â€œbelly laughâ€Â can help improve your physical health. Just think, frequent laughter can relax your muscles, lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system, protect your heart, and give a workout to your diaphragm. Furthermore, laughter releases endorphins, the bodyâ€™s naturalÂ â€œfeel-goodâ€Â chemicals, which are also released during physical exercise.
Benefits to the Soul
Laughter is, indeed, good for the soul- that is your mental and emotional health. In a study done by Johns Hopkins University, it was found that laughter increases memory and learning, which leads to increased test scores. It is a documented fact that laughter relieves stress, improves oneâ€™s mood, and eases oneâ€™s anxieties and fears.
Benefits to the Spirit Â
Now, it is important to note that laughter has spiritual and social benefits, as well. Those of us who are Christians need to understand that God has called us to a community of faith. The Apostle Paul referred to this asÂ â€œthe Body of Christ.â€Â Laughter helps strengthen relationships, and it sweetens our fellowship with one another. Moreover, I have seen how the presence of laughter in the local church, often defuses interpersonal conflict. Finally, laughter adds joy and zest for life.Â Nehemiah 8:10 says,Â â€œ. . . for the joy of the Lord is your strength.â€Â
So, I urge you to, literally, laugh the hell out of yourself.Â You will feel much better, and others who are around you will be happier with theÂ â€œkinder, gentler you.â€
6 Reasons to Laugh!
1. Laughter can diminish pain
2. Laughter enhances your relationships
3. Laughter protects the heart
4. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which protects the heart from heart attacks and other things that can harm the heart
5. Laughter helps you relax and recharge
6. Laughter can increase memory and learning