Today’s post features an older blog from Dr. Angela Bisignano. Her website shared this blog several years ago and during tough times like this, we could all use more laughter in our lives, right? Let’s read her advice about the spiritual benefits of laughter!
The Spiritual Side of Laughter
by Dr. Angela Bisignano
Think of how you feel when you see someone laughing. I know it makes me feel good. Laughter has an infectious quality. I feel less stressed just thinking about laughing. Laughter helps to reduce stress, set the tone, and impact people’s dispositions. I believe God may have given people a means to help deal with stressful times and trying circumstances by the simple remedy of laughter. The Bible certainly gives evidence of God enjoying humor. King David writes,
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh. ~Psalm 2:4
In the Proverbs it is written,
Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come. ~Prov. 31:25
Laughter is a gift for our enjoyment. I cannot help but think that God created laughter on this earth for His amusement, too. In the Book of Genesis, it is written
God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me. ~Genesis 21:6
I believe there is a spiritual component to laughter. God is the One who thought to include smiles on our faces. God is the One who created the sounds of joy and excitement when we laugh. He is the One who thought to include a dimension to life that helps chase away the blues on cloudy days. I believe God’s plans for laughter in our lives serve many purposes.
Laughter is a powerful antidote to countering the negative effects of stress and anxiety. Research indicates that humor has many benefits for our health and well-being. Few things are able to immediately counter the negative impact that stress may have like a good laugh. Humor helps to lighten our mood make us feel better, and feel less stressed.
Besides lightening our mood and reducing stress, laughter has many other benefits. Laughter has the potential to help decrease stress hormones and boost immune system functioning. Laughter helps to release endorphins that make us feel better. Laughter helps our bodies to relax and our muscles to become less tense.
Humor and laughter also give our minds an opportunity to rest, which can lead to gaining new perspective or insight into our current situation, relationships, or circumstances. Learning to incorporate humor and laughter into our daily routines can help change our lives and reduce the negative impact of stress.
God in His wisdom gave us laughter for a purpose. Here are 10 things to keep in mind as we go through our days:
1. Start the day with a smile. Smiling can set the tone for the day. If you are wearing a smile, you won’t have a stressed look on your face.
2. Make a decision to be intentional about incorporating humor and laughter into your day. It really will make a difference in reducing stress.
3. Schedule time to watch a humorous television show or movie. Setting aside time to relax and enjoy will help reduce overall stress and give your mind some down time.
4. Make a date with someone this week to have some fun. Choose someone who you think you can laugh or be playful with. Be intentional about finding someone who won’t make you feel stressed.
5. Add laughter into your reading plan. Include uplifting and humorous quotes, anecdotes, and stories into your reading plan. This will help you think about other things other than stressful thoughts.
6. Learn to laugh at yourself. Learn to not take yourself so seriously. Laughing at yourself is a great place to start.
7. Make one of your goals today to make someone smile. Smiling, like laughter, can be infectious. If someone smiles at you, the likelihood of you smiling back is great.
8. Realize that you have the ability to influence the way you think. How we think influences the way we feel, how we feel influences our behavior. If you are thinking less stressful thoughts, you will feel less stressed.
9. Visualize being happy. Think about occasions that have made you happy. This will help focus your attention on more pleasant thoughts, as opposed to more stressful thoughts.
10. Pray. Ask God to help you lighten up and see the fun side of life.
Have your life circumstances been a bit tense lately? Maybe it’s time to schedule in some fun. What can you do today to lighten up and smile?