Cheer Up!

SDA JournalDevotional


Scripture:  A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day. Proverbs 15:13 (MSG)

Observation:  A merry heart. “Merry” has changed its meaning since 1611. It did not then have the meaning of boisterous mirth. “God rest you merry, gentlemen” meant, “God keep you in glad peace, gentlemen.” The face glows with joy when the heart is full of light and peace. But the spirit is broken by continued sorrow of heart. When anxiety is permitted to reign, resilience is steadily weakened, until at last the resistance of the mind may be broken. The mental trouble is reflected in the physical condition of the body (see ch. 17:22; LS 255–258; COL 167, 168). [The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 3. 1977 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (1000). Review and Herald Publishing Association.]

Application: The benefits of laughter have been widely documented.  Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.
With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a great resource for those problems that don’t seem to have a solution, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health.
Think about some of the benefits of laughter to your physical health:
• Laughter relaxes the whole body.  A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
• Laughter boosts the immune system.  Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
• Laughter triggers the release of endorphins,  the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
• Laughter protects the heart.  Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Laughter also has great benefits to your emotional health:
• Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
• Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
• Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

As if that were not enough, Laughter also provides us with a host of social benefits:
• Be more spontaneous. Humor gets you out of your head and away from your troubles.
• Let go of defensiveness. Laughter helps you forget judgments, criticisms, and doubts.
• Release inhibitions. Your fear of holding back and holding on are set aside.
• Express your true feelings. Deeply felt emotions are allowed to rise to the surface.

Some people will say, “Well, that’s easier said than done.”  Here are some ideas to begin on the path to better physical, mental, and social health through laughter:
Here are some ways to start:
• Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. Pioneers in “laugh therapy,” find it’s possible to laugh without even experiencing a funny event. The same holds for smiling. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling.
• Count your blessings. Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When you’re in a state of sadness, you have further to travel to get to humor and laughter.
• When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s funny?”
• Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily–both at themselves and at life’s absurdities–and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.
• Bring humor into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?” [from
Bring laughter and joy into your life.  But if you want to add to your own joy, bring laughter to the life of your spouse, your children, your family, and others around you.  Go ahead; try it!  It’s a laughing matter.

A Prayer You May Say: Father God, thank you for the gift of laughter.  Help us to experience it in our lives and help us to share it with others so that it’s healing power may change their attitude and outlook into a more positive, joyful one. 

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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