A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
~ Proverbs 17:22
My heart’s desire and purpose for writing these devotionals each week is that you would be ministered to in body, soul and spirit. I believe that when either of these is affected either positively or negatively, it has a direct effect on each of the others. Today, I would like to focus on the positive effect that the gift of laughter can have on us. I’m so thankful for this powerful expression and gift that God has blessed us with. When was the last time you can remember that you had a good ole’, belly shakin’, red faced, teary eyed laugh? It might have come in the form of your favorite comedy show, movie, one of your children or grand-children doing something really silly or possibly even your pet. There is nothing like letting it go and enjoying one of these moments to make you feel good. You might not know it, but these laughing episodes are extremely healthy for you as well. Let me explain…
Did you Know?
- Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:4 that “…there is a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;…” I do realize however that there are often times when laughter is not so easy to deliver and release. And like me, you can most likely recount events in your life where God seemed to be on vacation or on some distant far away planet and silence was all you heard in reply. But in each instance, when God delivered me through that dark night of the soul, I was able to once again experience what the Bible tells us in Psalm 30:11 which reads “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,…” I truly find it hard to believe how people go through life not experiencing the Joy of the Lord and experiencing the inner strength He gives. Nehemiah 8:10 assures us that “…the Joy of the Lord is our strength.”
I also believe that we take ourselves way too seriously too often and limit this joy from emerging from within. The older I get, I find that I’m not at all concerned as I used to be what others think about how I live my life. Life is too short and really too long friend to be concerned with what others think of you or what you do. I tell people all the time that it matters not how good you try to be, how nice you try and dress, how much you try and gain others approval, the list goes on…, there will always be people that will not agree or even like you for whatever reason(s). That’s ok. There should only be one with who’s approval you are concerned with anyway. He loves you unconditionally just the way you are and wants you to just be you and truly experience your life to the fullest. “…For in His presence there is the fulness of real Joy.” ~ Psalm 16:11
I want to leave you with a clip from the Carol Burnett Show from several years back and give you the opportunity to burn a few calories and release some of those feel-good endorphins. So get ready my friend as you continue to Loosen Up, Laugh & Live!