Have you ever heard a rambunctious laugh? If so, you’ll likely never forget it. It usually starts out as a giggle, grows to a chortle and crescendos into cackling and guffawing. It is highly contagious.
My mom has that kind of laugh. It’s loud, full of joy and one of the things we have in common that I love.
This is one of my most favorite pictures of my mom and me. On a whim we entered one of those photo booths in the mall. We fed the machine money and quickly read the directions. It started flashing and we weren’t ready. Caught off guard, we both got tickled. The more my mom tried to suppress her snickers, the harder it was for us to keep our composure. After every flash, we saw the preview of the picture on the video screen above us. Before long we were howling and shrieking behind that photo booth curtain. When the picture-taking was over, we both had tears in our eyes as we waited for the machine to spit out the film. It is a great memory.
As you can see, my mom and I have the same smile — that wide-grinned toothy smile. We also both love to release our ha ha’s like a horse tossing his head back.
The belly laugh we shared that day put us both in a good mood for the rest of the afternoon. Long before scientific studies proved it, the bible declared it, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” (Prov. 17:22a NLT)
Do you know just some of the ‘good medicine’ benefits of laughter?
- Releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural ‘feel good’ chemicals. They help stave off depression and can help relieve pain temporarily.
- Protects the heart. Increases blood flow and improves function of blood vessels.
- Relaxes the body. A good long belly laugh relieves stress and physical tension, leaving muscles relaxed for a possible 45 minutes after.
I’ve been told I smile too much and laugh too loud (and probably too often at work). I use humor to deflect confrontation, tension and even boredom. Reviewing these health benefits (and others. . .hello, laughter even burns calories!), I resolve to colorfully crack up considerably more!