Monday, October 5, 2015

go ahead, I dare you to laugh

“A joyful heart is the health of the body”
or in this translation:
“Laughter does good like a medicine.”
                                                              ~ Book of Proverbs, Chapter 17, verse 22

“Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.”
                     ~Reinhold Niebuhr


Did you know that laughter can improve your life in 111 different ways?  Here are five, just to get you thinking:

#1       one woman’s personal failure is another woman’s… not exactly success, but definitely a source of shared humanity.

Picture this. I’m babysitting – by myself – all five of my grandkids, and everyone, I mean everyone, is grouchy and whinny.  At one point I look at the gang that surrounds me, everyone four years old and under, and I say rather loudly, “Oh my LORD!”  Upon hearing the word “Lord,” my one-year-old granddaughter Sofia folds her hands… in prayer and looks up at me.  Clearly, God knows that I was NOT praying, but Sofia reminded me to stop, laugh, and yes, say a prayer together.

#2       I read somewhere that Carol Burnett once said, “comedy is tragedy plus time.” Clearly not every tragedy will transform into humor of the ha-ha type.  But I’ve learned that happiness and sadness can and often do travel together.  It’s important for me that I remember that even in the darkest moments, light will soon follow.

And in truth, some pretty dark and/or dreadful moments do eventually become humorous. For example, the camping trip from he**, when tornadoes kept breaking out one after the other everywhere around us. Not only did our family have to take down our camping site in a panic in the rain, we had to drive east as fast as we could trying to find shelter or outrun the tornadoes.  Yet within two hours we were “camping” and roasting marshmallows again –at a Marriott Residence Inn!

If you want to read a family-oriented blog whose writer has a phenomenal sense of humor about every day moments, check! 

#3       Who would you rather be around, a pessimist cynic who never smiles because life is just too hard or a realist who finds humor in most situations?  

Yeah, me, too!  Enough said.

#4       there are 17 different ways that laughter is good for you, physically.  It boosts  the immune system. It triggers endorphins and can even temporarily relieve pain. It improves and increases blood flow, protecting your heart (both literally and figuratively) against difficulties. 

A few years ago I realized that the physical exercises I was doing in physical therapy, AND the wise advice I was given in acupuncture by Dr. Li, AND my spiritual director’s guidance – were actually all telling me the same thing.

Open up your chest.
Breathe as deep as you can.
Let yourself be vulnerable, open, and genuine!

Do you need more reasons?

#5       Since laughter relieves physical tension, stress and anxiety, experts say that your muscles stay relaxed for up to 45 minutes following laughter!

I know it is different when you’re a young mom and you have 15 different balls to juggle with your kids. But I can tell you that the best medicine for me when I’m having a bad day or when my body is flaring up is to hang out with my grands. Within seconds… okay, within minutes, I am laughing at something one of them said or did. Who can resist a 2-year-old stud opening the front door in sunglasses?

As expert author Misti B., points out, “laughter has never failed to improve one’s life.”  Check out her book, "If you leave me can I come with you?" -- right here!

And yes, I've written about humor before -- like here and this one here. But I'm not as funny as Mrs. Diaz

“It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use,
from time to time,
of playful deeds and jokes”
                                                                       ~ St. Thomas Aquinas

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