So the priest says to the rabbi… Sharing a good joke, laughing uncontrollably, my stomach hurts from laughing and I can barely breathe. This is the kind of laughter that releases endorphins and makes you giddy. It has been proved that laughter is contagious. I remember being in class and looking across the room at a friend while the teacher said something that sounded silly to us and we just cracked up. I mean, I could not stop. We both tried our best to control it but it was impossible to stop.
I work in a very serious business. Making money is always serious in any field, but the staff in the office while working hard, enjoys a good laugh.
I find that people that have a sense of humor tend to do better in life, they look better with a smile on their face, their shoulders are relaxed and though I have not done any studies, I know that people tend to do better with their personal relationships when they have a sense of humor.
We mirror what we see. When you see a happy joyous smile, you first look in the eyes of the person smiling, the eyes tell us the smile is real, the muscles on the face are relaxed. Our first reaction is to relax, our second is to mimic what we see. Then we want to engage.
Stress kills. As people go through life there are many stresses to deal with. Now I am not saying go and smile every time you hear bad news. The appropriate reaction at the right time is essential. But then many of us tend to dwell in the past. Smiling and even laughing at events that may otherwise be overwhelming is a great thing.
My mother has a debilitating disease that does not allow her to stand any more and needs to be helped with bathing and other hygienic needs, and though she is reaching 100 she still smiles frequently. Every time I see her she greets me with a huge smile. She laughs easily, she is a joy to be around. I hope I have half as much to offer people when and if I reach her age.
The best of times are the times with friends when jokes and stories are told that make us laugh. I have a saying: I could cry but I choose to laugh. That has made it bearable to make it through difficult times.
The economy has been difficult the past few years. I could have chosen to let it get me down, or to laugh about the things I cannot control, the things that happened to most of us and to say: better times are ahead. In order to get there in one piece, we must learn to laugh. Laugh often and laugh heartily. Finances are only a small part of what you need to take care of in life. The most important things are your health, your family and your friends. Sharing a good laugh will make even the most difficult situations more bearable.
Ever been to a funeral? Sure it is a sad thing to say goodbye to a loved one or to a friend. The grieving family needs our support. It is OK to cry, it is OK to be sad. However part of that support is to share fun moments we had in life with the deceased. This is not to mean we have a license to act inappropriately. It is a time to remember someone when they themselves were smiling. The act of bereavement is more bearable when we remember that the family needs our help and that a smile is OK even in the midst of grief.
What about in the hospital? Yes in the hospital. Why am I bringing up these seemingly inappropriate places to have a laugh? Because that is when we need humor the most. The simplest things in life are accomplished when we are consciously aware that something must be done to improve a situation. A person recovering from an illness may not feel like laughing, but making them smile will let them know we care about them. It can help speed up the recovery. Now, please don't lean over if they are unconscious and tell them a joke, that would be in poor taste. Wait until they wake up so they can enjoy it….
So the next time somebody looks like they could use a good joke, make them smile and watch what happens to them and then feel what happens to you.