My shopping friend is always happy and full of laughter. I find it hard to laugh when I think about bills and providing for my four children. She has as many worries as me, but just laughs them off. How can I laugh my worries away?
Laughter is a free, miracle drug with no bad side effects. It can’t be purchased at the corner pharmacy, but you can unearth it from inside yourself. Research shows that laughing can ease pain, banish tension and worry, put irritating thoughts in their proper perspective, prevent you from taking your life too seriously, and liberate your cloudy mind to think more clearly.
I urge you to laugh alongside your shopping friend, for emotions often improve after behavioral changes occur first.
As you laugh more, you’ll grieve less. As Will Rogers said, “We’re all here for a spell; get all the good laughs you can.” Don’t let a good chuckle slip by.
We all become what we think about, so if you lament too much and laugh too little, happiness will elude you. Life dispenses pain, problems, dilemmas, and uncertainties to almost all of us. There are people in your town that have none of these concerns, but they all dwell in the local cemetery. As long you walk on planet earth and suck in oxygen, you will have days when you wish the sun could have risen twice.
Take a lesson from your friend. I bet she has problems just like you. But, she’s found out that no one can be somber and laugh at the same time; it‘s got to be one or the other. So, why take life seriously?
It’s true that all of us have mood cycles. Even if your troubles magically disappeared, you would not be happy and laughing every day. Winning a huge state lottery would not free you from feeling less happy than usual from time to time. Recognizing that merriment remains a natural way station between intermittent periods of melancholy may help you come to grips with normal “down days.”
However, if you pursue happiness, you’ll find it more often than not. But, even with a winning lottery ticket, excellent health, a friend to go shopping with and a clear conscience, you will still wake up and face days where you wish the sun could rise twice.
Your giggling friend illustrates that you do not have to look far to find happiness, for it blossoms from the inside-out.
There are many financially well-off people who don’t laugh and who aren’t joyful. They, too, could learn much from your friend. It’s great to have money to pay off the bills and have all the things that money can buy, but many have lost the things money can’t buy.
So, start laughing! Your happiness is in lay-away, buried within yourself. Start shopping for it!
Robert Morton is a retired school psychologist and adjunct professor in the School of Leadership & Policy Studies at Bowling Green State University. Contact him at the Family Journal (www.family