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There are many situations that cause us to cry. Tragic events and sad occasions cannot be avoided and the tendency for tears should not be stifled. But it is important to keep things in perspective and maintain balance. There is a time to weep and a time to laugh.

“There is a time to weep and a time to laugh.”

                                                               (Ecclesiastes 3:8)

Radio personality, Ludlow Porch (his real name was Bobby Crawford Hanson), made a distinction between a humorist and a comedian. He said that a humorist is one who sees life in a funny way while a comedian is one who tells funny stories. People with either of those gifts are extremely important. They help us to laugh.

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I like comedy but don’t watch a lot of the television sitcoms. One reason is because I have some hearing loss and I often miss or misunderstand some of the dialogue. Also cultural, generational, and political differences have a lot to do with humor. Recently I realized there is another compelling reason why I don’t enjoy much of the sitcoms- laugh tracks.

Canned laughter is a big negative for me whether it is on Modern Family, Black-ish, or The Big Bang Theory. I don’t need to be prompted to know when something is funny. Besides, there could not possibly be as many really funny moments as are indicated by the programmed laughter.

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Regardless of my dislike for sitcoms there are many people who obviously enjoy them. That is good  because laughter is good medicine. A wise man once said, “A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing…” (Prov. 17:22 AMP). Dr. Robert Segal says, “When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy.”

 

Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use. One pioneer in laughter research, William Fry, claimed it took ten minutes on a rowing machine for his heart rate to reach the level it would after just one minute of hearty laughter.

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My 12 year-old grandson was visiting us a few years ago and one day he said to his grandmother (my wife), “Nana, let’s laugh.” And they did. For the next several minutes they and I laughed until we were exhausted. Deep belly laughs. Take-away-your-breath laughs. Once we started it was hard to stop. When we finally quit laughing I had a sense of cleansing and wellness. It was like we had just completed an exhausting and exhilarating physical workout. It felt so good.

Are you ready? Let’s laugh!

Jamie Jenkins

 

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