Laugh Yourself Well

I was reading an article on health and emotions the other day and read this quote by Dr. Joseph Mercola: “Although it is still often overlooked, emotional health is absolutely essential to your physical health and healing – no matter how devoted you are to the proper diet and lifestyle, you will not achieve your body’s ideal healing and preventative powers if emotional barriers stand in your way.”

We really do have to keep a handle on our emotions. We have to consider it all joy and find the place of rest that God gives us in all circumstances. To choose otherwise is foolish, but to choose takes us having on full armor to fight the enemy who seeks to destroy us.

What happens to us physiologically when we laugh and smile. Is there a difference if you make yourself smile opposed to having a genuine smile? You’ll be surprised to find out research shows that you can have the same physiological benefit even if you force yourself to keep a smile on your face.

Let’s begin our journey on this “healing laughter” series with a devotional from the book, “Healing in His Wings” by Anne Buchanan, Ph.D., M.H.

All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast. (Proverbs 15:15 NIV)

Joy in your body brings health; sadness, despair, and depression do not. It can be hard to be cheerful when you feel sick, but the paradox is that the more you focus on gladness, the more you create an internal environment for healing.

This concept was popularized most spectacularly by Norman Cousins who became very ill with a collagen disease in the mid-1960s. Even though he was in constant pain and felt like crying all the time, he embarked on an experiment using laughter to stimulate his healing. He found movies, jokes, and stories that were funny, hilarious, and just plain silly. The more he laughed, the less pain he felt. He used joy to activate his immune system and endocrine system into proper functioning.

When he had succumbed to the oppression of the disease, Cousins felt wretched. When he developed a cheerful heart, he found he had a continual feast of gradually improving recovery. Ten minutes of belly laughter produced two hours of sleep without pain. Hours of laughter each day produced more and more healing in his body which was confirmed by consistent laboratory tests.

This was not a case of Dr. Cousins’ willing himself to be a Pollyanna. This was a situation of immersing himself fully in joy and allowing his soul, mind, emotions, and body to unite in harmony in the positive experience of cheerfulness.

How much do you laugh during the day? Do you take your life and your illness or injury so seriously that there is no room for joy to fill you? Every cell in your body can feel the vibrations of God’s joy. Make a list of the things that make you laugh the deep- down, roll-on-the-floor belly laugh – humor that is so funny to you that you laugh until tears roll down your cheeks. That is the laughter of healing.

Create your own “Laugh for Health” collection. Ask your friends and family members to send you clippings or jokes – anything to add to your collection and to give you fresh material. Make a commitment to spend time every day immersed in humor and in laughter. Make a joyful noise to the Lord. Come before Him with gladness.

Thank You, God, for the healing power of a cheerful heart. Thank You for the pure joy of laughing and laughing and laughing. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.


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