Laughter Each Day, Keeps the Doctor at Bay

Day 18 in Proverbs

Proverbs 18: 14 “Being cheerful helps when you are sick, but nothing helps when we give up.”


I love the saying “Laughter is the best medicine.”  I think there is a lot of truth to it.  Well, OK…except the other night when I had a massive headache.  I wasn’t feeling very cheerful.  I didn’t feel like laughing in the least.  But in spite of myself and my desire to be alone with my pain, I know that if certain people had been around, I would have been laughing in no time.  Even in the midst of feeling horrid, they would have gotten me to see humor.  And yes, I do believe it would make me feel better.  Even if I originally didn’t want to laugh.  I believe in its power to heal.

They say that laughter does great things to our bodies to promote health.  For one, it supposedly improves circulation.  That means the blood flows more easily to our heart and our brain.  How many sicknesses and diseases are caused by poor blood flow?  Quite a few!  Such a simple and pleasurable way to improve your health.

That headache of mine.  Improved blood flow could definitely be something that could help me get rid of that.  But also, the physical release of tension that laughter brings.  If stress or anxiety was the cause of the headache, once again that could be the cure.  If it was caused by sinus or atmospheric pressure changes, as it sometimes is, laughter could also change my breathing so that it would change that pressure that is going on in my head.  Another good thing.  The possibilities are endless…..even for my non-medical brain.

I’ve unfortunately seen quite a few friends go through some serious illnesses.  Those who seem to defy the odds usually have an unusually cheerful spirit.  Even those who don’t beat the odds….the quality of their life seems better when they seem to be looking around and smiling at what they see.  Those who greet it all with depression and hopelessness?  They almost seem to fade away before your eyes.

Akin to physical pain, is emotional pain.  That feeling of discouragement or anxiety that makes you think that you would agree to almost anything to stop it.  Most of us feel that on occasion.  We have jobs where we feel unappreciated and overworked, we have relationships where we feel…..unappreciated and overworked.  We seem to be in a rut that we can’t get out of, sometimes even knowing it is of our own making.  We know we need to work out or eat better, but we just don’t do it.  Which brings a cycle of discouragement into our lives where we just don’t feel good about who we are.  We feel like failures….and the fact that it is our own fault, well, that just adds to the weight that seems to be crushing down on us.  We feel weak…..not empowered knowing we have everything we need to change things.  Grabbing for those things and using them….it seems like such an effort.

Did you ever take the Myers-Briggs test?  That’s the one that tells you whether you are an introvert or extrovert, a sensor or an intuitive, a thinker or a feeler, or a judger or a perceiver.  I remember taking the test a long time ago and found I was a strong thinker while a close friend was a strong feeler.  While I feel emotions and say “OK, so I feel unhappy, but want to feel happy, so I am going to start feeling happy,” that concept was totally foreign to my friend.  She said “You feel what you feel and you just have to feel your way through it.”  I still don’t get that (which I guess is the point of the test.  It gave me great insight into our differences.)  I believe you can evaluate how you feel and change it.  Divert it to another path.  And I think it is a great exercise when you are feeling sick or just down in the dumps.

I’d like to say I am the type of person who never gives up, but it would be a lie.  Sometimes I give up really easily.  Hopelessness seems to settle quite comfortably and quickly in our body if we let it take up residence.  But I think that is one thing that we need to fight with everything that we possess.  We need to make it a temporary houseguest and send it on its way as quickly as possible.

Being cheerful in the midst of what ails us is akin to being hopeless about the things that challenge us.  We need to cling to cheer and hope.  We need to surround ourselves with the cheerful and the hopeful.  Those qualities are tonic for the soul.  I believe they give us longer lives, healthier lives, happier lives, less burdensome lives.  

So let’s hang out with people who possess those qualities…..and stay away from the defeated and the morose.  Except in small doses…..when we feel strong and can maybe pass a bit cheer and hope their way.  Let’s make laughter part of our regular exercise routine.  (Probably adding other exercise won’t hurt either.)  It can be our very special practically perfect Mary Poppins-like tonic.  It is the medicine that doesn’t need a spoonful of sugar to get it down.

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