“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” Proverbs 15:13.
On a recent visit with my family, I observed two young children at play. They were sitting on the floor, rolling a ball back and forth, and laughing loudly together. Later, they were running around, pulling s skipping rope between them and laughing at every turn. They were enjoying every minute of their time together. Soon they had us older folk laughing as well along with them. Laughter is contagious.
Laughter is a gift from God, which we sometimes take for granted and forget to be grateful for. Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. In Proverbs 17:22, Solomon wrote: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:”
Statistics released for Canada in 2019 showed that 55% of adults aged 18 to 79 used at least one prescription medication, while 36% used two or more, and 24% used three or more. Perhaps if we all laughed more, we could reduce these figures.
Here are a few of the many benefits that laughter can bring us:
- Enhances your intake of oxygen, which stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles.
- Laughter reduces stress, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
- A shared laugh will diffuse anger and conflict, putting our problems into perspective.
- Laughter may help us live longer.
- Laughter reduces blood pressure, thus reducing our odds of a stroke or heart attack.
- Laughter burns calories. One study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn about 40 calories.
Isaiah 51:11 “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”
As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we should be filled with joy and gladness. When we consider all the blessings that He has bestowed upon us, the ability to laugh should be one of them. We should take time in our busy lives to look for opportunities to laugh. Watch a child play, read a funny story, watch a humorous video, or simply laugh out loud just because you are alive.
Prayer: Jesus, we thank you for the gift of laughter. We thank you for all the benefits it provides. Help us to find something to laugh about today and may it help us to draw closer to you and to each other.
Devotion by Anne Johnston