SURPRISING HEALTH BENEFITS OF LAUGHING - Grace Ngo Foundation

Health, Knowledge, Natural Food Matters

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

SURPRISING HEALTH BENEFITS OF LAUGHING


420-some-good-news-african-american-couple-laughing-together.imgcache.rev1316189611077-300x170

FROM THE BIBLE PERSPECTIVE
The writer of Ecclesiastes stated: “There’s a time to laugh, and a time to cry”(Ecclesiastes 3:4). We know that there are plenty of reasons to cry. Just a casual glance at our world, with its wars, hatred, violence and evil – makes us sad. Every day we see/hear on the news horrible accounts of hurting people who hurt others. We are grieved at the plight of so many persons who are living in darkness and have rejected the light of Christ. The stark reality of sin in our world is indeed sobering.

It’s not surprising that many of us MYSELF inclusive as leaders may be more inclined towards sadness than  joy. Given the nature and demands of leadership in an increasingly challenging world, one could cynically surmise that leaders may have more reason to be glum than glad these days. The pressures of our organizational responsibilities, and the accompanying stresses, can drag us down. Handling church conflict, losing someone special, helplessly seeing a marriage dissolve, experiencing personal betrayal, facing an unsuspected tragedy – all may give cause for tears. To counter the sad times, the Scripture also advises that there is a time to laugh. Leaders need to know the balancing therapy of laughter, when was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?! Or, you actually had a good belly laugh?

OTHER WRITERS 

Spurgeon’s great sense of humor
Many evangelicals know well the stern side of C. H. Spurgeon and his serious pursuit of the holy life. Indeed, his stands for righteous causes, and countering doctrinal error are often recounted. But many readers may not know that he was a man with a great sense of humor. Spurgeon knew the value of laughter and mirth. He virtually took to heart the word in Proverbs 17:22: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”
Spurgeon laughed as often as he could. He laughed at the ironies of life, he laughed at comical incidents, he laughed at the amusing elements of nature. He sometimes laughed at his critics. He loved to share wholesome jokes with his friends and colleagues in ministry. He was known to tell humorous sto
ries from the pulpit.

C. H Spurgeon considered humor such an integral part of his ministry that a whole chapter in his autobiography is devoted to it. Humor permeates his sermons and writings, often woven into the fabric of his messages. It’s one reason among many why he is still so readable today. Laughter, a needful release
Laughter is an important release in a leader’s life. It is much-needed therapy for positions that are most often fraught with stress and the burdens of the day. Certainly there is a time to be sober as we face many tough situations in our lives and ministries. But, we need to learn how to experience the relief of laughter. Part of the problem is that too many of us take ourselves way too seriously. When we forget that God has a sense of humor, we need to do as one leader suggested – go look in the mirror!

Spurgeon knew the value of laughter and humor. Both in tough times and sick times, humor was a means for him to deal with his situation. It was a coping mechanism for him. There will always be seasons of sadness and joy for the conscientious leader. But, the leader who learns to balance the two, will learn the discipline of employing laughter and joy in his life. It could very well make a difference in his fulfillment and purpose in his service to the Lord.


In 1971, Dr Williams began Empirical studies on the effects of Humor and laughter. Dr Fry at Standfort University Medical School was among the first to go beyond anecdotal stories. He conducted testing and measuring that could be replicated by others. He found that the chemical i.e the hormones in a person’s tears are different when a person is laughing as compared to crying. He also showed that people’s bodies are tensed when listening to a joke, but relaxed at the end. He compared the body’s production of dopamine when laughing to a runner’s high, which is why he calls laughter “Internal Jogging”
MWI-Lilongwe-1203-307-v1

7 HEALTH BENEFITS OF SMILING AND LAUGHING

1. Neurotransmitters called endorphins are released when you smile.
These are triggered by the movements of the muscles in your face, which is interpreted by your brain, which in turn releases these chemicals. Endorphins are responsible for making us feel happy, and they also help lower stress levels. Faking a smile or laugh works as well as the real thing—the brain doesn’t differentiate between real or fake as it interprets the positioning of the facial muscles in the same way. This is known as the facial feedback hypothesis. The more we stimulate our brain to release this chemical the more often we feel happier and relaxed.

2. Endorphins make us feel happier and less stressed.
They also act as the body’s natural pain killers. For sufferers of chronic pain, laughing and smiling can be very effective in pain management, as can laughing off the pain when you bump an elbow or fall over.

3. While the release of endorphins is increased, the stress hormone cortisol is reduced.
Cortisol is more active when we feel stressed or anxious and contributes to the unpleasant feelings we experience, and by lowering it we can reduce these negative feelings.

4. Laughing expands the lungs, stretches the muscles in the body and stimulates homeostasis.
This exercises the body, replenishing the cells from a lungful of oxygen and gaining all the benefits of exercising the body.

5. A good laugh can be an effective way to release emotions.

A good laugh can help you release emotions, especially those emotions that you might bottle up inside. Everything looks that little bit better after a good laugh and life can be seen from a more positive perspective. Smiling and laughing have positive social implications as well.

6. Smiling is an attractive expression, which is more likely to draw people to you rather than push them away.
blond children laughing
Smiling makes you appear more approachable. Interaction with others is easier and more enjoyable when smiles and laughs are shared, and these behaviours are contagious, making others feel better too, and make you a more appealing and attractive person to be around. This in turn will have a positive effect on your well-being.


7. A Happy, Positive Expression will Serve You Well in Life.
This is particularly true for challenging situations such as job interviews: a smiling, relaxed persona indicates confidence and an ability to cope well in stressful situations. This will also be of benefit in your career, building healthy relationships with colleagues and being seen in a favourable light by your employers.
Definitely, it sounds, feels and looks good to laugh. The beauty and joy of this emotional expression called laughter is that it is always beautiful, it is not identified with tribalism, it knows no male or female, requires no training or special education, it is available for the rich and for the poor, for literate and illiterate, for civilized and uncivilized, The old laugh, the youth laugh, the rich laugh, the poor laugh and even babies do laugh.



 Summary
 It is indeed good medicine for the soul. So why not develop the habit now as I have started doing and enjoy good doses of it daily for its numerous health benefits. If you ask me to choose between laughing and crying, I will choose the later.

No comments:

Post a Comment