Most of us, including me, need to lighten up and loosen up. I tend to be too stiff, too serious, and too sad. I have a melancholy temperament. I am not saying that I shouldn’t take life seriously, I should. I am saying that I should not take myself so seriously. I need to laugh more. Do you?
By the way, did you hear the one about the golfer and his buddies that were playing a round of golf? At the eighteenth green the golfer had a ten foot putt to win $200.
As he was lining up his putt, a funeral procession started to pass by. The golfer set down his putter, took off his hat, placed it over his chest, and waited for the funeral procession to pass. After it passed, he picked up his putter and returned to lining up his putt.
One of his buddies said, “That was the most touching thing I have ever seen. I can’t believe you stopped playing, possibly losing your concentration, to pay your respects.”
The golfer turned to him and said, “Well, it was the least I could do. We were married for 45 years!”
Maybe only golfers will appreciate that one, but the reality is that laughter is needed in everyone’s life. Someone described laughter as the sensation of feeling good all over and showing it in one place. The great church reformer Martin Luther was hooked on laughter. He once kidded, “If they don’t allow laughter in heaven then I don’t want to go there.” He added, “If the earth is fit for laughter then surely heaven is filled with it. Heaven is the birthplace of laughter.”
Tim Hansel asked a friend what she thought the five most important ingredients were to being a quality human being. After a long and thoughtful pause, she said, “Humor, love, responsibility, courage, and humor.” He tried to point out that she had already said humor, but she informed him that she meant exactly what she had said. She felt strongly, that at least two of the five prime ingredients for being a quality human being are a good sense of humor.
What are the benefits of laughter?
1. Laughter brings healing.
Laughter has the incredible capacity to heal our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. We need to be hooked on laughter. Laurence Peter writes, “Laughter may not cure all, but at least it reduces pain, diffuses trouble, has no side effects, and it’s free.” Laughter may truly be the best medicine.
A proverb states, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Thom Meigs, one of my graduate school professors, said, “Humor is a gift from God that can promote healing and health.” It has been said that the best doctors in the world are Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet, and Dr. Merryman. According to medical experts, laughter actually produces positive psychological results. A good laugh exercises the lungs and stimulates the circulatory system. Laughter releases chemicals in our bodies called endorphins—internal drugs that serve as painkillers. It is a legal tranquilizer that carries no side effects. Your body is revitalized by what could be called internal massage. Laughter can be equated with “jogging on the inside.”
2. Laughter shows that we are real.
Laughter is a part of life. When we express it we show that we are genuine. The world doesn’t need more phony baloney people. It needs people who are authentic. The most real people I know can laugh (and cry) with the best of them. One of best argument for authenticity is the expression of joy, harmony, and laughter. But, by the same token one of the strongest evidence a “faker” is when they are somber, joyless, and humorless.
3. Laughter helps us deal with life’s problems.
So loosen up. Find some people that enjoy life and spend time with them. Their fun will rub off on you. Instead of complaining about life’s frustrations, try to laugh about them. If something is frustrating or depressing, step and realize that one day you can look back on it and laugh. And remember that we treat too many things in life too seriously. And, if we are honest, we don’t treat the important and eternal things seriously enough.
A good life ought to be found guilty of having too much wholesome, edifying fun rather than too little. Laughter brings people together. “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people,” writes Victor Borge.
Life is not friction free. Laughter is not a panacea for a person’s problems. Laughter doesn’t level life’s obstacles, but it does make the climb a lot easier to bear. Another proverb states: “When a man is gloomy, everything seems to go wrong; when he is cheerful, everything seems right!” Laughter has the unshakable ability to break life up into little pieces and make it livable. In other words, it can make a rocky road a little smoother and easier to travel.