Yesterday I was sitting around the conference table with my team of big thinkers and I was introducing some of our newest team members to each other. Two of the team are bi-lingual and we were discussing some additional areas where they could use their gifts. I asked one of them if they could "do interpretation," but what played in my head was "impersonation" and I said, "Can you do Mickey Mouse?" Everyone looked oddly at me as I cracked myself up to the point of tears. They had no idea what was in my head and my reaction, of course, was silly. I know I must have looked like I had snapped, and one of my team even said, "Vicki, it's late. I think you've over worked yourself," but in reality that laughter was the release of stress that I had been holding onto for months. I needed that laugh, and man, it felt good.
When was the last time you laughed out loud or had a belly laugh that made you fold over as it stole your breath away? There is an old saying, "Laughter makes the heart lighter," and another that says, "Laughter is the best medicine." It's so true. When we laugh our body and mind both get a jolt of endorphins similar to the runner's high experienced during exercise. A research article published in The Royal Society September 13, 2011, presented their findings that laughter can elevate pain thresholds. Here we are nine years later and we are laughing less and experiencing pain more.
We take ourselves too seriously and expect to find entertainment in artificial ways, by watching sitcoms, movies, and playing games. A few years ago I wanted to see just how entertaining my nightly feel-good sitcoms were actually benefitting me in terms of laughter. I made a mental note of every time something was said or done that actually brought me to laughter or even just made me smile. What I learned was very little of what I watched elevated to the point of laughter. What I also realized was the laugh tracks (audience laughing on cue) were telling me that I SHOULD be laughing, but I wasn't. I was basically staring at the TV in a mind numbing hypnotic trance that was benefitting me very little.
In today's world of Covid-19 isolation, social distancing, and political banter there is more to complain about than to laugh at. How about a change? Get together with some friends, or your co-workers, and have a good old-fashion talk about something fun, memorable, or a time when you were being silly? I know it's been a while since we had a good laugh and we really could use it right now.
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
Proverbs 17:22 (NLT)