Finding out whether laughter is the best medicine, helped me see the lighter side of life. I read this quote and realized life is not always about being serious; having fun is a very big part of creating a life worth living.
Can Life be too serious?
I love this quote, it is a picture my mom had framed and although it has no author on it; on googling, as we do, I see the one closest to it is by E.E. Cummings. Do I follow its advice? Not really as I found out later that I take life way too seriously. How can we laugh when there is so much pain and suffering in the world, my mind says, “One day when the world is happy I can laugh”, thinking that this heavy load will then disappear.
As a child, this did hamper relationships as I found it hard to see the fun in situations, as I was afraid that if I enjoy myself too much, something bad would happen to spoil that joy. Now that is not a way to create a life worth living, is it?
Realizing that Life can be lighter
At the age of 29 I did a Lifeline Personal Growth course, and one of the activities was to dance around the floor and when the music stopped, to do something foolish. I was aghast and found out, for the first time, how this was affecting my ability to have fun and laugh at foolish things; which in turn opened up some small opening in my mind that having fun and laughing was OK, and laughter could have healing properties.
Is doing life on the serious side an appropriate way to create a life worth living? Realizing that there is a time for serious and a time to have fun was a slow realization and that taking on the weight of the world would not make the world heal, nor would my inability to have fun and laugh. So what I decided to do was do the best I could; pray and leave the rest to those that are doing a brilliant job.
A new way of looking at laughter.
I have decided that November Is Laughter month and I want to get into the habit of not wasting one day without laughing.
So I am making a November laughter list that I will try and stick too for the month. Things that make me laugh. I would love some ideas as well, so please let me know what helps you laugh. I chat a little bit about what steals our Joy in the link below.
Steps to find laughter
- I watch comedy type TV series. I.e. Big Bang Theory, Modern Family and Last Man Standing. They will inevitably bring a smile to my face.
- Trolling through Facebook has its benefits when funny posts are posted. They can truly make my day.
- When I become aware of how serious I am – I lighten my mood.
- Going out with friends or having friends over.
- Look for the humorous side of life.
- Walking and exercise – releases happy endorphins.
- Releasing that heaviness and replacing it with joy.
- Finding things to laugh at.
- Taking steps against letting negativity slip in through the back door, by limiting my news listening time and avoiding most negative items, also trying to only focus on the ones I can do something about.
Detoxing the mind in order to enjoy laughter
Caroline leaf talks about reprogramming the Brain as I have mentioned before in her book Toxic thoughts, emotions and bodies.
A really great book to read, I highly recommend it; however I chat about two detox steps, she has twelve altogether.
Detox Step One – Consciously control your thought life and think, think, think.
“Consciously controlling your thought life means not letting thoughts rampage through your mind. It means learning to engage interactively with every single thought that you have, and analyse it before you decide to either accept or reject it.”
Detox Step two – Play and laugh a lot
She says laughter releases an instant flood of feel-good chemicals that boost the immune system. It almost instantaneously reduces levels of stress hormones. She says research shows that laughter boosts your immune system by increasing levels of gamma interferon – your body’s defense against viruses and immunoglobulin A – which protects against respiratory tract infections. She says that it rejuvenates the mind, body and spirit. It gets positive emotions flowing which connect us and gives us a sense of unity, a feeling that we are part of something greater.
So that is the deciding factor. Laughter really can be the is the best medicine in order to create a life a little less heavy and manageable.
Laughter and God
When I was still at Northfield Methodist Church in Benoni, I was invited to attend an Emmaus walk. For those of you who do not know what Emmaus is. The Link to learn more is http://emmaus.upperroom.org/about
The first thing I noticed was that there was this picture of Jesus laughing. Now for me, this was new. Was Jesus not serious, with a serious mission that he had to complete for God? It took me a long time to be able to look at this picture and accept that Jesus wants us to be happy, in fact he died for us so that we could have life in all abundance.
“Walk to Emmaus is an experience of Christian spiritual renewal and formation that begins with a three-day short course in Christianity. It is an opportunity to meet Jesus Christ in a new way as God’s grace and love are revealed to you through other believers.”
In the English Standard Version John 10 says:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have in abundantly.”
A Happy laughter month of November to you.
Leaf. C. 2007. Who switched off my Brain? Toxic thoughts, emotions and Bodies. Switch on your brain organisation (Pty) Ltd.