Monday, September 30, 2013

It's Monday - Let's Laugh a Little!

I once heard someone new to the church being asked why they had chosen to start attending.  Their answer was simple, “Because I always find a reason to laugh!”  I think that’s great.  Actually, laughing is one of my most favorite things to do.  The only home that I can think of that would be worse to grow up in than a home that never heard music would be a home that never heard laughter.  Now, I realize that there is also a place for seriousness in church, but let’s not underestimate the spiritual, emotional and physical value there is to laughing…even in church!

According to information on the Discover Health Website, by the time a child reaches nursery school, he or she will laugh about 300 times a day.  Guess how many times a day an average adult laughs?  Only 17 giggles a day, and that's just not enough. We need to laugh, and we need to laugh on a regular basis.  Proverbs 17:22 says, "A merry heart does good like medicine."  In other words, laughter is good for your body. Laughter actually stimulates circulation, produces a sense of well-being, exercises the face and stomach muscles, stimulates the production of endorphins (the body's natural painkillers), and provides oxygen to the brain, to name just a few benefits. 

According to an article called the "Science of Laughter" on the Discovery Health Website, natural killer cells that destroy tumors and viruses are increased when we laugh, along with Gamma-interferon, which is a disease-fighting protein. In addition, T-cells which are important to our immune system and B-cells that produce disease-fighting antibodies also increase in number when we laugh. Plus, laughter has been known to lower a person's blood pressure.  

Laughter is good for your heart.  According to a study at the University of Maryland Medical Center, laughter may actually help prevent heart disease.  The study found that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease. Laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you against heart disease.

Laughter is a good workout: It has been proven that hearty laughter actually burns calories, as many as equivalent to several minutes on a rowing machine or an exercise bike.  Laughter can also enhance learning:  Laughter stimulates both sides of the brain to enhance learning. In fact, laughter eases muscle tension and psychological stress, which keeps the brain alert and allows people to retain more information.

Researchers suggest that we need a minimum of 12 laughs per day just to stay healthy. So, go ahead. laugh it up.  Charles Swindol wrote, “I think it is just as sacred to laugh as it is to pray, or preach, or to witness.”  Barbara Johnson said, “Love may make the world go round, but laughter keeps you from getting dizzy.”  I agree!  Psalm 126:2 states, “Our mouth was filled with laughter.”  I hope that is always one of the characteristics of the church I pastor!

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