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Laugh more, Stress less

Laugh, giggle, chuckle, snort! When was the last time you had a good snort? You know, where you laugh so hard that tears came streaming down your face or you let a snort slip out. Laughing is a good release and it is beneficial. I am not a medical doctor but I have read numerous articles and texts that support laughter as being good medicine. A great many report that laughter releases tension, lowers anxiety and stress, gives a boost to our immune system, improves our resistance to disease, aids in circulation and possibly even tightens your abs. {Score!} When we laugh, we release endorphins, which are chemicals emitted from our brains that can actually intercept and reduce our pain perception. So a couple of good "dad jokes" can lessen my pain? Interesting.

The problem arises when we let the seriousness of life rule us and we become rigid, overburdened, over-thinkers. Time to lighten up and get over ourselves. Easier said then done, right? Start small. Smile with the cashier. Watch a good cat video. Watch an silly comedy and laugh. Our behavior is often linked to the way we feel. Good feelings make us smile which intern causes others to smile with us. We instantly become more approachable, tend to interact more and become more open with others. Laughter also helps ease tense conversations and uncomfortable situations. One year while putting up Christmas lights, my dad could not stop laughing. He was unrolling an long extension chord that our dogs had mistaken for an outhouse. I said, "Daddy why are you laughing?" His response "To keep from crying." I didn't see the humor but can relate to the sentiment. Humor can have a funny way of restoring our sanity. It can allow just enough of a break to enable us to look rationally at the situation we are facing and make better decisions.

Just as faith and fear can not exist together, neither can anxiety and laughter. Look for the humor in situations. Go ahead and try a joke out. If it doesn't work, try to do better next time but try anyway. It goes without saying that, some situations are not funny and are off-limits. But then again I just said it... but you know what I mean. Also, restraint must be used when joking. Certain types of joking like sarcasm, which I may or may not be deft in, can be wicked, abusive and hurtful. Our words are powerful and can bring great life or great sorrow. The Bible reminds us in Proverbs 18:21, "What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words." Ouch. Think before you joke. Check.

If we can have a positive influence on our respiratory, circulatory, immune, nervous and endocrine systems from laughter, why hold back? Slow down, take a quick mental break from your schedule, emails, social media, the news, that deadline and laugh. I am not saying that laughter is a cure to all that ails you. I am saying that our perspectives are shaped by how we think. How we think is influenced by what we take in, watch, read and eat. How we think is what we become. Endeavor to have a cheerful heart. A cheerful heart is good medicine but a broken spirit saps a person's strength - Proverbs 17:22.

and After all, laughing is an instinctive expression of amusement.

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