Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Essence of Mirth I

I know for a fact that there is not enough laughter in my life. This should not be a surprise to anyone given the long, dour expression that I consistently wear a good deal of the time. I wish this statement did not apply so directly to me as, you see, laughter is such a wonderfully healing device. According to scripture, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine", Proverbs 15:13. There have been a number of clinical studies that have demonstrated that laughter:
  • Reduces physical pain and discomfort by producing pain-reducing hormones called endorphins;
  • Strengthens our immune system by stimulating production of proteins called globulins, along with T-cells and interferon;
  • Decreases stress sensations by reducing cortisol levels.
These studies were not focussing on inane cocktail-party chit-chat laughter. They were based on the type of laughter that comes from somewhere deep inside of us that causes our sides to ache and our tears ducts to bring forth a torrent. The kind of laughter that causes us to lose control.

Personally I know that unexpected laughter of this sort can turn a whole day around. Kind of like putting the rock-solid ice cube of frustration, anxiety, disappointment, turmoil, and stress on a sidewalk during high noon in August. All of the negativity quickly melts away, leaving no trace of its previous existence. Ahh, the healing power of laughter.

(Part 1 of 2)