My daughter reminded me one morning of the importance of laughter in our lives. She was sitting on the floor, playing and laughing out loud with her six-month-old daughter.

My daughter reminded me one morning of the importance of laughter in our lives. She was sitting on the floor, playing and laughing out loud with her six-month-old daughter. I listened as her laughter, and my granddaughter’s giggles filled all the space around me. She said she wanted to feel this kind of joy always and see the world through...I listened as her laughter, and my granddaughter's giggles filled all the space around me. She said she wanted to feel this kind of joy always and see the world through her child’s merry eyes.

We talked about the carefree laughter of childhood before we had bills to pay and so many responsibilities.

I asked my daughter, "So what makes you laugh when you get older, and the children are grown, and you no longer have to leave cookies out for Santa?"

"I don’t know, Mom, she said. That’s what I’m expecting you to show me."

That’s the thing about children; when you think they are grown and you’ve set good examples for them, they remind you that they’re still watching.

Our children grew up in a pastor's home with many different kinds of people coming and going in their lives in many different places. Teaching our children to have a sense of humor was just as important as teaching them to have a strong prayer life.

One of my many favorite memories of laughing together as a pastor's family was when a precious older member of our church, who was almost blind with cataracts, would prepare meals and bring them to us. She didn't realize that she mixed all the food on one big serving plate.

The fried fish was often on top of cottage cheese and pineapple with beans and slaw on top of that. The children wouldn't eat the food and didn't know what to say when she asked them at church how their dinner was.

A pastor friend suggested we name our garbage can "Spot." So when the sweet lady asked the kids how the food was, they would say, "It hit the spot!" Laughter always made our lives fun and helped us get through stressful times.

We need laughter in the good times and the bad. Laughter makes us feel good, releases pressure in a bad situation, gives us energy, and makes the most miserable situation bearable at times. In general, it gives us a sense of well-being and a sense of community.

Doctor Madan Kataria, author of the book, Laughter Yoga, said, "Children can laugh up to 400 times a day, but for adults, this frequency drops to barely 15 times a day."

It may even be less this year with all the stress our country and families have been through.

In 1995 Dr. Kataria, a medical doctor from Mumbai, India, experimented with humor’s therapeutic benefits by approaching strangers in a park in Mumbai. He then invented a series of breathing and relaxation exercises that stimulate merriment for better health called Laughter Yoga.

Since then, thousands of social laughter clubs have been launched in 65 countries, including the United States.

Some physicians prescribe laughter classes to the sick, elderly, young, and healthy for its stress-reducing effects. It is proven that voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter.

The physical benefits of laughter include reducing stress hormones, strengthening our immune system, cardiac conditioning, lower blood pressure, {especially in women), and it cleanses the lungs, which can aid in respiratory problems.

Good reason to add laughter to our lives daily, right?

When I added up the amount of laughter in my life, I found that most of the people I spend time with are people who like to laugh.

As inspiration, I look no further than my own friends and family. My neighbor and friend is one particular person who inspires me. She is engaged, curious, strong, beautiful, and fun at age 89 ? exactly the kind of woman I'd love to be when I'm her age, should I have the good fortune to live that long in fine health.

Listening to her share funny stories of stressful times in her life growing up during the great depression reminds me that there is a funny side to every situation. Spending any time with her reinforces the idea that we need a sense of humor to make it through the tough times in life and gives me new energy and hope for the future.

My sisters, who were all more than ten years older than me, inspired me the same way. They knew how to use laughter as a healing agent. When we got together, we talk about our life as children. There were sad and painful times for us, but we always managed to turn our shared stories and thoughts into laugher that brought tears to our eyes.

During the Covid-19 quarantine, I had an amazing friend who sent me videos of funny things and attitudes to cope with the quarantine. She says we need more comedy in our lives, and she is right. The videos were respectfully humorous, and they helped me laugh at myself.

Laughter doesn’t mean you can’t be serious or that you are insensitive to the bad things happening in the world around us.

However, it can be the difference between a life of black-and-white and a life filled with color. Laughter may not add years to your life, but it will add life to your years! It’s like a flower that blooms when it stretches towards the sun.

A wise person realizes eating right and exercise is the best way to stay healthy, and it is a wise person who learns the importance of laughter in their lives.

If we need a prescription for laughter, it can be found in a book that has been around a long, long time. A Bible verse in Proverbs reminds us that joy is an important part of a healthy life. "A merry heart is good like a medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength." (17:22, NLT)

Laughing with our grandchildren is the most fun, and we do it a lot. Sometimes when our grandchildren get into trouble, we laugh and remind our children they did the same things when they were that age. But, for some reason, they don't always think that's funny.

However, being a role model for our adult children has meant demonstrating how to live well and happy in good times and bad. Teaching them always to have a sense of humor and a strong prayer life will be their guide to setting the same example for their children.

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Deana Landers
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I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

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Story Comments

  1. That helped me fill me laughter target for the day 😆. Thanks for that great story!

    • Deana Landers -

      Thanks, Sara for reading and commenting on my story. Deana

  2. What a beautiful story. The food hit the spot made me giggle, because we often had food like that because I am a rubbish cook. Laughter is really important today to keep us all sane. Thanks for sharing your great story.

    • Deana Landers -

      Anita, thank you for your sweet comments. Yes, I'm afraid some of the food I've cooked has hit the spot, too:)Deana

  3. There's nothing as beautiful as a child laugh and it's so heartwarming to hear how your daughter and her kids spend time together laughing and based on what she said to you, I'm guessing she learned from the best Deana. I was shocked at the stats you quoted about how little adults laugh. That's quite scary and sad too. Here's to lots of merry, laughter-filled moments.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Michelle. When we think about how much we laugh, it may remind us that we need more laughter in our lives.Deana

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