Laughter

“What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.”  ~Yiddish ProverbLaughter

Laughter is an audible expression or appearance of happiness, or an inward feeling of joy (laughing on the inside). It may ensue from jokestickling, and other stimuli. Inhaling nitrous oxide can also induce laughter; other drugs, such as alcohol or marijuana, can also induce episodes of strong laughter. Strong laughter can sometimes bring an onset of tears or even muscular pain.

Solid scientific research demonstrates that laughter offers the following benefits:

  • Lowering blood pressure; Strengthening cardiovascular functions; Reducing stress hormones; Improving circulation; Increasing muscle flexion; Oxygenating the body by boosting the respiratory system; Boosting immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells; Triggering the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and Producing a general sense of well-being.

Scientific research now has evidence to support that infants experience natural physical sounds of laughter as soon as four days old. This is an amazing piece of evidence as it can begin to support the moods we see in infants as well as the temperaments that emerge in children as they grow.

Milton Berle once said that laughter is the quickest road to a vacation. In my role as a Rabbi, I had the honor very recently to facilitate a prayer service at the home of friends who had lost a father and grandfather. Clearly, every one was somber and reflective. I asked people to share any memories they had of the person who had transitioned and each one that did, caused others to smile, laugh internally and most importantly, helped the grieving family remember the good times in balance with the sad.

Laughter is essential to enjoying our respective journeys. Life is serious without laughter. Laughter eases the pain in our hearts and souls and allows us to remember that balance will get us through the day. The most important thing I can do for myself daily is to laugh at me and allow you to laugh with me. For, when I forget to laugh at my own flaws, I will always have resentments at those who point them out.

My prayer for you today is that you laugh at yourself so others may laugh with you and that you use laughter and humor to ease the pain of someone who is suffering.

Hugs and Blessings,
Rabbi Mitch

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