“The human race has only one really effective weapon, and that’s laughter. The moment it arises, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.”
One of the most important aspects of living a deeply meaningful, spiritual life is humor. All of the great masters, mystics, and teachers I have studied with have had an amazing sense of humor. I have made laughter part of my practice, and I always say, “Don’t take life so seriously, but be serious about the life you live.”
So how can we be light, free, and humorous about our lives and live a deep, personally satisfying life? We can keep our hearts and minds open for opportunities to laugh. And one such opportunity is tomorrow, January 24-It is Global Belly Laugh Day!
For all of us worldwide, laughter is one of those magical qualities of life that we all happily share in common. Laughter helps ease our tension and brings us back to the truth where we cannot take things personally (most of the time, it is not about us)! When we are able to laugh, we feel lighter and not so concerned with trying to control others or even ourselves, for that matter.
There are so many reasons to laugh often, but I say the best reason is because it just feels great! Here are five more good reasons:
- Sharing a good laugh with someone is an excellent way to grow a new friendship. As comedian Victor Borge stated, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” And he is right. We have all noticed that when we enjoy laughter with someone we don’t know very well, we suddenly feel like we know that person a little bit better.
- Laughter keeps established friendships and relationships fresh by nurturing the emotional and social connection between people. A good laugh between friends is like caring for a flower garden. It helps you pull up the weeds and keep the ground moist and fertile to make room for more beauty and growth.
- Laughter eases tension. Have you ever heard someone say, “The tension in the room was so thick that you could cut it with a knife?” Laughter has the ability to “slice through” those stressful moments, making it possible for a lighter perspective to slip right in. As journalist Bennett Cerf said, “The person who can bring the spirit of laughter into a room is indeed blessed.” When it comes to benefitting from that laughter, we are all truly blessed.
- Want a great workout? Just laugh. “I laughed so hard, my sides ached” is a common expression, but it is no exaggeration! When you let out a hearty belly laugh, your abdominal muscles get engaged as if you are working out! As Norman Cousins said, “Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors.” Your facial muscles also get a good stretch.
- Laughter really is the best medicine. From the relief of pain to improving memory to lowering stress levels, studies into the physiological benefits of laughter are ongoing. It is human nature to want to know why something works, but we do not have to know the reasons to experience the many benefits of this magnificent ability!
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”