I have a confession to make: I’ve been known to rip snort. I laugh loud. When I get to laughing really hard, well, I can snort. It’s so embarrassing. My kids tease me about it.
I do love a good laugh, and studies show that the old proverb “laughter is the best medicine” carries some truth. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter reduces stress, helps us relax, and combats depression by improving our mood.
People have known about the benefits of laughter for a long time. Solomon wrote this proverb almost 3000 years ago:
But you know what? When life starts to weigh me down, laughter is the first thing to go. When my schedule gets full and my stress levels rise, I start to lose my sense of humor.
Life’s glitches and bumps can pull me down as if I were carrying the world on my shoulders. Pretty soon I take on a mentality that says, “I don’t have time for fun. I’ve got to hunker down to work on solving problems.” As if everything depended on me.
I start taking myself too seriously.
Difficult circumstances can break our spirits and sap our strength, but laughter and a cheerful heart are good medicine.
When your load is getting heavy, maybe it’s time to lighten up!
Here are 9 Ideas for Cultivating a Cheerful Spirit:
1. Keep Your Perspective.
God’s got you covered. You don’t have to carry burdens you were never meant to. Life is a gift from God, so let’s enjoy what we can and trust Him with the rest.
2. Make Time for Fun
Don’t let responsibilities crowd fun out of your life. We all need time to relax, whether we watch a movie, play a family game, or throw a Frisbee at the park.
3. Smile More
The physical act of smiling at anyone or anything remotely pleasant lifts my mood. Try it. Try smiling to yourself right now and see if you don’t feel just a wee bit cheerier.
4. Be Intentional About Laughing
The more you laugh, the more you’ll keep on laughing.
5. Do Something Silly.
If you have kids, this should not be too hard. Put on a funny hat at breakfast. We love singing karaoke style. (Believe me, if you saw me belting out Bob Dylan’s classic “Like a Rolling Stone,” you’d laugh too.)
6. Develop a Repertoire of Funny Family Stories
Living in Turkey, we get lots of laughs over how people mispronounce our names. (And we mispronounce theirs.) Like the sweet guy in the park who calls my husband and I Huseyin and Betty instead of Jose and Betsy. What stories make your family laugh?
7. Watch or Read Something Funny
8. Look for the Humorous Side of Difficult Situations.
Life is full of irony. Look for something to laugh at when you burn your dinner or drop it all over the kitchen floor.
9. Learn to Laugh at Yourself
If you’re as clumsy as I am and put your foot in your mouth as often as I do, you’ll have plenty to laugh about.
So if your load is getting heavy today, how about lightening up? Try one of these ideas, and perhaps the medicine that Solomon suggested will help you feel better.
Now it’s your turn. What makes you laugh?