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Wednesday, May 21, 2014
"Go Ahead and Laugh"
“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” Proverbs 15:13
“All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
Are you enjoying life? Are you assured in God’s providence so securely that you can rest in Him in bad times and not lose your joy? Life is given to us by God, and from Him all things are given to us to enjoy that life. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;” I Timothy 6:17. I believe it honors God when we walk through life with a smile on our face and laughter in our heart.
What happens when we laugh? It is a proven fact that we change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout the face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, and send more oxygen to the tissues. Hey, dieters, laughter burns calories, too!
Researchers have found that there are four major effects that laughter has on the body.
Blood flow: The University of Maryland found that people who were exposed to comedy and laughter had normally behaving blood vessels. The vessels expanded and contracted easily. Those who were exposed to a drama tended to tense up, and their vessels restricted blood flow.
Immune response: Increased stress is associated with decreased immune system response. Several studies have shown that humor has a direct influence on the elevation of infection-fighting antibodies in the body, as well as boosting the levels of immune cells.
Blood sugar levels: One study had people with diabetes eat a meal and then listen to a tedious lecture. The next day, the same people ate the same meal, but this time they attended a comedy. After the comedy, the blood sugar levels were lower across the group than they were after the lecture.
Relaxation and sleep: One study has shown that chronic pain patients who experience ten minutes of laughter can sleep two hours pain free.
Stress has quite the opposite effect on the body. Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress. Seventy-five to ninety percent of all doctor’s office visits are from stress-related ailments. Stress has a major role in headaches, high blood pressure, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
Go ahead; laugh at these statistics. It may do you good! Get a glad heart and you will do yourself a major favor. Go ahead; tell a good joke. Talk about that funny memory you have tucked away in the dusty side of your brain. When is the last time you had yourself a good belly laugh? If you have developed the habit of taking yourself way too seriously, go look in the mirror, or better yet, take a few “selfies,” and see what we all see. Go ahead, yuck it up!