The old saying, “laughter is the best medicine” is proving true. A happy heart is like good medicine according to Proverbs 17:22a. As we progress through the often agonizing process of being restored to our God-designed destinies from the impact of sexual brokenness, we all too often overlook the importance of laughter.
What are the moments that make you laugh? A friend’s joke? A Sunday comic? A playful child or puppy? Slapstick humor?
It’s not the physical heart beating inside your chest that makes you cheerful. It’s a state of mental health. It’s a “joyful mind.” It refers to the inner man—including the mind, will, and heart.
Laughter involves the entire body. Facial muscles contract and relax, the body produces higher levels of endorphins and lowers the stress hormone, cortisol, which is responsible for regulating blood sugar, metabolism, and blood pressure.
Not only can having a good laugh positively impact the body physiologically, it can also help restore someone from destructive behaviors.
Laughter engages the mind and strengthens healthy brain connections, taking hold of active listening and observational skills. The endorphin release from laughter is a healthy way to replace the “high” produced by destructive sexual behavior. Laughter heals, especially when we laugh together, as it creates a sense of fellowship and belonging with others. When you find yourself laughing together in a group, you are helping to create a bond that God designed you and others to experience.
Laughing is a mindfulness activity. When you find something amusing, when you have a belly laugh, the only thing you can focus on is the present. You aren’t concerned with the past or the future in that moment.
If you’ve forgotten how to have fun, and are yearning for the ability to see the brighter side of life, be intentional about laughter. Laughter will remind you of the joy found in a sober lifestyle. Laughter promotes healing. Try it now. Recall something that has made you laugh! When was the last time you enjoyed a belly laugh?
As Robert Provine, the noted laughter researcher, commented in the documentary Laugh Out Loud, “Until the scientists work out all the details, get in all the laughter that you can!”
Following the announcement of a study of the benefits of laughter on endothelial function, Dr Michael Miller said he envisioned a time when physicians might recommend that everyone get 15 to 20 minutes of laughter in a day in the same way they recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise.
A laughter therapy group in Indianapolis hosts sessions for groups of people who meet and learn about laughter. The practitioner uses and practices laughter based on Proverbs 17:22.
So, doctors, therapists and researchers are discovering God’s truth; laughter heals.
The benefits of being joyful are countless. Your blood pressure goes down, your ability to fight infection goes up, and the face you present to the world has fewer frown lines.
Going through God’s healing and restoration is hard work, especially if married or engaged, and, part of healing is about living a balanced life that includes laughter. We ought not to forget to laugh as we do the hard work God calls us to do to participate with His healing.
103-yr old Karl Tinggaard, who was born before WWI and still dances every week was recently interviewed about how he’s lived such a joyful life and is quoted as saying,
"I'm just an ordinary man who has had a long wonderful life. I can't remember one year in my life that was not wonderful...For every minute you laugh, you extend your life by one hour and I’m laughing a lot.”
Are you intentional about laughing in your Avenue group? If not, perhaps this would be a time to be intentional with your Foxhole Buddies and laugh, for God designed you to live a long wonderful life with a happy heart, beginning right now! It’s not only a matter of laughing, but a matter of good medicine and healing for you and your heart!
For over 20 years, Avenue has been helping thousands of men like you achieve their goals of real freedom, integrity, and a meaningful life. We will help you laugh again.
You are not alone. We understand your needs. We can help you to restore your life and relationships from the impact of sexual brokenness. Learn more here.
If you need to talk with another man who’s been there and been restored, or ask questions about our confidential restoration groups, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.