Laughter. What makes you laugh? What makes you giggle?
Sometimes things are so difficult, but if possible try to recall something that has made you laugh at some point in your life.
“A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones” Proverbs 17.22 Laughter is the best medicine is a well-known adage, and it’s right there in the Bible. It’s important to have a good laugh.
There’s a photograph doing the rounds on social media of two pieces of graffiti on a whitewashed wall. The first artist sprays the stark statement, ‘Life is Pain!’ A second person has added ‘au chocolat’. The meaning is now completely changed, and it’s both funny and brutally profound. Life is tough… but we can still find the humour in it.
Laughter is extraordinary, beautiful and absurd. Science backs this up. Laughter lowers adrenalin and cortisol in our systems, releases feel-good endorphins, acts as a natural pain-killer, boosts the immune system, increases the oxygen supply to our body and brain, brings people together and lifts our mood.
Did you know that 80 per cent of our laughter as human beings is not derived from jokes? Laughter mainly happens as part of our social interaction, play and communication. Most of the time we are choosing to laugh or laughing because laughter is infectious.
Can you really choose to laugh? Yes, you can. You can probably recall people laughing when the boss cracked a poor joke, or even in response to a predictable sermon joke. Consider how easily and often children laugh (and are freer to cry). Perhaps that’s why Jesus suggested we should become like them. Laughing is a way of recovering the joy and emotion that we may have lost or suppressed along the way.
Life is hard at times. Verses like ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’ and ‘Jesus wept’ show that God is with us in our troubles. Equally, he understands our need for laughter and joy.
‘He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouts of joy.’
Live well, love much, laugh often!