“As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul.”
Now that I’ve been studying this subject of happiness for years, I’ve come to a conclusion about something that is not discussed often, but is so prevalent in our society. It’s that there is such a huge misconception that seriousness is equal to being more in touch with reality than lightness. I personally believe this couldn’t be further from the truth.
I actually believe it’s the complete opposite. People who have a lightness to them, who are quick to smile and laugh, are actually so much more enlightened than those who take everything so seriously. Because maybe without even realizing it for some of them, they know the secrets of real happiness. Qualities like letting go and gratitude and just being present in the moment – ones that elude so many people so often – are second nature to them.
Complaining and drama and problems and victimhood have all become such a daily way of life for so many people. Here’s some good advice: run! Because when you are around this negativity, it’s actually ‘catchy’.
And when you come across people who are lighthearted, see the sunny side of things and make you laugh easily – plant yourself right next to them; appreciate their gifts; and study them. See how they think. What secrets have that instinctively learned that you could learn too?
Someone very young and very wise said something to me years ago that I never forgot coming from such a young kid. He said, “I don’t know about God. But all I know is that life is like a boomerang and what we put out we get back.”
The truth is that we are continuously attracting what we are putting out. That means that our problems are often a RESULT of our negativity and misery – not the other way around. The ‘silly’ fact is: happy people attract more things to be happy about.
Here are some amazing proven benefits of laughter:
A fifteen-year study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlive those who don’t laugh as much. The researchers studied people with all kinds of illnesses, like cancer, heart disease, and infections—and women especially had much lower mortality rates when their humor scores were higher.
Here are the proven physical benefits of laughing, according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Laughing:
• enhances oxygen intake
• stimulates the heart and lungs
• relaxes muscles throughout the body
• triggers the release of endorphins—the body’s natural painkiller
• balances blood pressure
Hospitals like the Cancer Treatment Centers of America have programs now like Laughter Therapy that go along with the traditional treatments. Laughter actually is known to release anger from a person’s body.
You might be saying at this point, “Well, I laugh. Everyone laughs. I’m not going to force myself to laugh. That’s odd. And besides, there’s not always funny stuff to laugh about. I have a lot of serious things on my plate right now.”
If this is how you’re responding, then that’s all the more reason for you to take up the practice of laughing more. What have you got to lose? Pride and dignity? There aren’t a lot of studies on the health benefits of pride and dignity.
“There’s no such thing as an inappropriate joke. That’s why it’s a joke!”
Michael Scott, The Office
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