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11 April - How To Laugh More

Charlie Chaplin wisely said,” a day without laughter is a day wasted.”

You could say laughter is our birthright, as natural to us as breathing. Babies begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh and chuckle within a few months of being born. They know how to smile and laugh!

The sight of someone laughing uncontrollably is contagious. My husband is particularly hilarious when he laughs. He ends up practically rolling on the floor with tears streaming down his face, unable to speak as he chuckles and then roars with laughter. You can’t help but laugh along with him.

It also triggers healthy physical changes in the body, strengthening our immune system, decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, improving disease resistance. It boosts energy levels and triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of happiness and can even temporarily diminish pain.

Laughter also protects the heart by improving blood flow and blood vessels' function, which protects against cardiovascular problems.

Need to lose some extra kilos? One minute of laughing burns the same number of calories as six to ten minutes on a treadmill.

God knew what He was talking about when He said, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22)

Here are some other ways to help joy and laughter become more a part of your day:

1. Be intentional. Include laughing in your daily routine. Get a joke book, funny calendar or something you see every morning to make you laugh and smile as you start the day.

2. Make a Laughie. Create a catalogue of laughter recordings on your phone or device and press record every time you or someone you know laughs around you. People’s different laughter styles and chuckles are hilarious and will cheer you up and have you laughing along with them repeatedly.

3. Count your blessings. Give thanks for what you do have. A lot of time, momentary worries and concerns are of no consequence in the big scheme of our life’s story. I have a saying. “If we won’t remember it in 20 years, it probably isn’t worth stressing about,” so don’t let it steal the joy of today.

4. Smile. Smiling is the warm-up for laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. It’s possible to laugh without even experiencing a funny event. The same is true for smiling. Practice smiling when you look at someone or see something mildly amusing. The world and its inhabitants are quite hilarious.

One way to remember is to have smile cues throughout the day. Have a funny coffee mug, or quote on your phone that reminds you to smile. Smile every time you arrive home or greet a person you love.

5. When you hear laughter, move toward it. People are often happy to share something funny because it allows them to laugh again. When you hear laughter, seek it out and check out “What’s so funny?

6. Spend time with funny, happy people. Hang around those who laugh easily at themselves and life’s hilarious moments. It’s contagious. St Teresa of Avila stated rather bluntly, “May God protect me from gloomy saints”. Misery loves company, so ensure you aren’t keeping company with it.

7. Have a favourite comedian. There are lots of funny, talented people whose job is to make us laugh. Choose your favourite and listen to some of their routines on Youtube or at one of their shows.

8. Follow a funny TV show. Specifically, watch shows that make you think and shows that make you laugh.

9. Have more fun on date nights – keep your relationship strong by laughing with your partner. Watch a funny movie, do something you both enjoy or share the funniest thing that happened to you in your day.

10. Play games with family and friends. Playing competitive-style games with a group you enjoy spending time with will have you laughing in no time. Set up a game, put out some snacks and have fun.

11. Bring humour into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest or best thing that happened to you today? We regularly ask this at our family dinner times. Kids can be very funny with their view of the world and people. Give people the opportunity to share joy

12. Laugh at yourself. The best way to take yourself less seriously is to talk about times when you took yourself too seriously. We all have embarrassing moments, but some are truly hilarious when shared. Hopefully, when we share them with others and have a good chuckle, we end up laughing instead of cringing when we think of those moments in the future.

Remember to spend time with Jesus and give Him your burdens daily. It will offload stress, lift the weight off your shoulders, and replace it with His joy so you can laugh and enjoy your day.

Some of life's circumstances are beyond our control, but they are not beyond God’s. Laughter helps us keep things in perspective and that everything is in His hands. Jesus said, “The thief (devil) comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” (John 10:10)

You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” (Psalm 30:11-12)

Prayer: Lord, I give you my worries and exchange them for your joy. Please help me see the joy and funny things in my day so I can smile and laugh more. In Jesus' Name Amen.

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