“Laughter is poison to fear.” ~ George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
It is said that laughter is the best medicine. We’ve all heard that saying before. But in many ways it is really true. There is almost nothing I enjoy more than having a great laugh. This is probably why my favorite movies are comedies. Laughter makes for lightness. Laughter gives a lift. Laughter, for me, is that moment of release. For a while, I am free as I am escorted down a path of joy.
Like Maya Angelou, I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh. And I think we don’t laugh enough. Americans are always busy, always running, always after something. We seem to be facing more obstacles to reaching the carrot of so-called success nowadays than ever before. We are feeling more frustration and anxiety trying to make ends meet. Our diligent efforts to stay above the fray often get us smacked down before we make any ground. We are hamsters running nonstop across the wheel of ridiculousness, where few of us question the futility of the race. So many people feeling in over their heads. So much frustration and worry and personal struggle. So much feeling like our individual effort is not enough. Maybe we haven’t tried hard enough. Should we muster up more strength to try again? Ugh! For what? Where is the hope? Perhaps, it is time for a new tactic. Is there a new perspective to be had, and if so, how can we place ourselves there?
To stop for a minute, breathe, and maybe laugh at the craziness of it all might not be a bad idea. Laugh. Not only does laughter help relieve stress and anxiety, it helps to boost one’s mood. For a moment one may find some relief, a lightening of the load through laughter. Contemporary studies are showing that laughter may even help to strengthen the immune system, boost endorphins, and protect the heart. All this potential benefit from a few ha-ha-ha’s? Even for a moment, who wouldn’t want more of that in her life?
“Laughter is the language of the soul.” ~Pablo Neruda
Beyond the physical benefits are the emotional, mental, even spiritual ones. Nowadays there is something called laughter yoga, whereby self-induced laughing creates relaxation and helps to deepen our breathing. Best of all, it helps bring us back to ourselves.
Whether a well-timed joke, silly comedy, or spiritual practice, laughter is good for what ails you. It is a way of throwing off the shackles of weighty worries, and reaching deeper inside oneself to the soul. There, things of this world are irrelevant, matter little in the grand scheme and dissipate like just so much smoke puffs before you know it. Maybe it’s time to laugh our way inside to the deep. There we might find comfort and respite, even if for just a little while.
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