An open bag of chips and half-empty pop cans lay scattered across the floor in the girl's bedroom. The only light was a princess night light shoved to the edge of the nightstand. Clothes piled here and there lie forgotten where an elaborate fashion party had been a few hours ago. The girls sat cross-legged in a circle clutching pillows and stuffed teddy bears sharing secrets and chatting about whatever came to mind. Girlish laughter and sweet little giggles could be heard until the wee hours of the morning.
Do you remember those slumber parties where you laughed so hard your sides ached? Remember the feelings of sheer exhaustion, yet complete satisfaction, you felt as you finally fell asleep just as the sun was beginning to rise?
I'm not trying to take you back to the good ole days of slumber parties, but of the feelings you had after a good laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine. Not just because Proverbs 17:22 says so, but because it is a proven fact. Laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you against a heart attack, according to a recent study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. The study, which is the first to indicate that laughter may help prevent heart disease, found that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.
Dr. Lee Berk at the Loma Linda School of Public Health in California found that laughing lowers levels of stress hormones, and strengthens the immune system. Laughter increases levels of a hormone called beta-endorphines (which elevates mood state) by 27% and has been shown to reduce levels of three stress hormones: cortisol, dopac, and epinephrine also known as adrenaline. Berk also found that mirthful laughter raised good cholesterol and lowered inflammation during a test of the effects of laughter on diabetic patients. Laughing relaxes the body and reduces problems associated with high blood pressure, strokes, arthritis, and ulcers.
Not to get bogged down with the heavy details, but a hearty laughter is good for you. I hope you will allow yourself to laugh and give the gift of laughter to someone else because guess what?! Laughter is contagious! I know you already know that! The next time you write "LOL" I challenge you to really "laugh out loud"! :)