All of us experience challenges, along with moments of pain, stress, and tension. It's just part of what makes us human as we travel through our individual journeys. However, one thing I've noticed is that those who carry the ability to laugh and allow humor to always be at the forefront of their demeanor are some of the happiest people I know. When life gives them lemons they make lemonade, when problems or struggles try and come up against them, they shrug them off and quickly pull a joke from their basket of endless humor. As they face obstacles which would cause most to look for the nearest hole to jump into, they laugh as they plow straight ahead. Not everyone can relate to this, some are born with a more serious personality chip firmly embedded inside their brains, placing humor aside while making other issues a higher priority. But, learning to see the funnier, brighter side of life has enormous mental and physical benefits.
Humor is very infectious. The uniquely-pitched sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. When laughter is shared, it pulls people together and increases their happiness and intimacy. In addition to the flowing effect of joy and amusement, laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts your energy, relieves pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this invaluable medicine is fun, free, and available almost everywhere you look.
No matter what I'm doing or where I am now, I've started making it a habit to watch something funny on TV before I go to sleep and after I awake. It helps me start and end my day on a positive note, shaping and shifting my emotional well being to a peaceful place where I like to be. It also assists with keeping a lighthearted attitude in my relationships with others; helping me to understand their different opinions and attitudes. Like a shot of adrenaline, watching George on Seinfeld explain his theories on Lesbianism or Alan Harper on Two And A Half Men strike out with a woman for the thousandth time, the purity of simple humor never fails to please.
Something most would agree with is that there's a noticeable absence of humor these days. This crappy economy, an increasing divorce rate, the battles over religion and other social freedoms, and a political landscape where opposing sides are constantly at each others throats have definitely stirred up a hornets nest within our population. However, as one who believes in an afterlife, the life we're living now is one we'll be laughing about later. After all, I'm one who definitely thinks God has a terrific sense of humor.
Among my best friends is a guy whose humor never stops. I've known him since graduating high school and see him often. He's a married guy, but has recently entered into a divorce with his wife of many years. Although things are getting heated and feelings are getting hurt (as in most divorces), his contagious sense of humor and ability to laugh at things which would send others screaming and running to a mental ward has been something to see as a shining example. No matter what's thrown at him, the humor and jokes always come out, giving him unique advantages while pushing through this challenging period of life. He's always had this certain charm, charisma, and willingness to look into the mirror and laugh at what he sees. Even others that know him are lining up to assist in any way they can because of the positive effects he's had on their everyday lives.
One of the funniest people I've ever known is now 93 years old. He was a good friend of my fathers, and is now living out his retirement in an assisted living facility with his wife of many decades. Although a life-changing illness has affected her life, his playful sense of humor has never faltered. Even at his age, he never fails to send me at least two or three funny e-mails a day. I try and visit at least once a year, and every time I do, I get those same side-splitting belly laughs from him like I did as a kid. He's a man who lived through the great depression, wars, and many other life experiences; a testament to the fact that those who carry limitless smiles and beaming personalities often live the longest lives.
Being able to see the humor in things is one of the greatest favors we can do for ourselves. It helps us age, and move past those useless barriers and problems which would otherwise negatively affect our lives.
So now, if you'll excuse me, I think I hear Archie Bunker arguing with Meathead on a rerun.
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