Written by: Lydia D’Ross, Renewal Program Outreach Chaplain and ordained minister
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones -Proverbs 17:22
At the Department of Behavioral Medicine of the UCLA Medical School, Norman Cousins conducted extensive research into the physical benefits of happiness. Cousin’s research proved that laughter, happiness and joy all work to combat stress (Charisma Magazine, 2015). There are many therapeutic benefits of laughter. Dr. Lee Berk of Loma Linda University have found that laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexibility, and trigger other happy endorphins (Humor and Health Journal, 1996).
I know this may sound a bit unusual, but, during my Dad’s funeral a few years ago, we had a eulogy filled with laughter. At the funeral, we had lots of family pictures, and, as people walked by them, laughter just broke out. There was no sorrow but pure joy, because we had lots of happy memories. We had a lot to laugh about, and we focused on the good times we had with Dad.
Not only does the scientific community tell of the health benefits of laughter, scripture also tells us to merry our heart with laughter. The beautiful thing is that this type of medicine is free. This week, try to watch a funny movie, tell jokes to your kids, and remember the good times you had growing up.