Why did the goose cross the road?
Because it was the chicken’s day off!
Did that dumb joke make you smile? Good! It’s healthy to laugh and smile!
Laughter promotes satisfaction with our lives. The Bible tells us a merry heart is like good medicine (Proverbs 17:22). Science has proven that when people laugh, endorphins are released in the brain, similar to when we exercise. Many studies show that consistent laughter has health benefits. We literally feel better when we laugh!
I learned the value of laughter from my mother. She was one of those people who had an infectious laugh. When something tickled her, there was no stopping the stream of laughter. And the funniest part was that she usually cracked herself up, and that would start the rest of us chuckling.
3 Benefits of Laughter:
1) Laughter bonds people together. I’ve got many fond memories of my siblings and I gathered together listening to Mama tell stories or jokes. She took twice as long as anyone else because she kept laughing, which made it more memorable for us. Laughter breaks down barriers. It makes people open up, let their guard down, and put aside their differences. And, it’s not as much fun to laugh by yourself. When we see or hear something funny, isn’t our first impulse to share it to another person? We want to share humor with others because laughing together strengthens bonds between people.
2) Laughter eases stress. When I first learned to drive, Mama usually braved the trip rather than Dad. Due to her large size, she often struggled to fasten her seat belt. But Mama wasn’t afraid to laugh at herself. She’d hold the seat belt in her teeth while working with two hands to secure the buckle in the clasp. Her eyes were always full of merriment and she’d let out a huge sigh, saying she’d worked up a sweat!
I’m pretty sure we did more laughing than driving. Our little Ford Ranger had a clutch, and Mama always teased me about lurching (anyone who learned to drive a manual transmission knows exactly what I mean!) With hands gripping the dash, she’d pray out loud for God to watch over the poor old truck and protect it from my abuse. Of course, I knew most of her humor was nervous energy. And worry that she might be maimed before I learned to work the clutch! But she put me at ease and I have a lot of good memories of those days. She ensured my driving experience wasn’t stressful.
3) Laughter heals broken hearts. When Mama passed away several years ago, my family agreed we couldn’t stay serious for long – she wouldn’t want that. She’s in a better place now, no longer suffering health problems. Our fondest memories are of her laughter and we still talk about it, reminding each other of her stories. Talking and laughing about what she found humorous makes her absence from our lives a little easier to bear. She would rather we chuckle at her silliness than regret her leaving this world.
Laughter is essential in healthy family! Be silly with your children, no matter what age they are. Tell jokes, watch funny shows, or even play small pranks. My husband and I enjoy watching Christian comedians with our children. We also tease each other over little mistakes (one of our biggest jokes is if mom has lost something, then check the fridge – I honestly put my keys in there once. Not my finest moment!) We also like reading funny stories together, such as Patrick McManus, the outdoor humorist.
So, as the saying goes: LIVE, LAUGH, and LOVE!
Copyright © Jen Cudmore, Moms of Faith®, All Rights Reserved