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

My daughter reminded me one morning of the importance of laughter in our lives. She sat on the floor, playing and laughing loudly 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 always wanted to feel this kind of joy and see the world through her child's...I listened as her laughter and my granddaughter’s giggles filled all the space around me. She said she always wanted to feel this kind of joy 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, they remind you that they’re still watching.

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

One of my many favorite memories of laughing together as a pastor’s family was when a precious older church member, almost blind with cataracts, would prepare meals and bring them to us. Unfortunately, she didn’t realize she had 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. The children wouldn’t eat the food and didn’t know what to say when she asked them how their dinner was at church.

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 sometimes makes the most miserable situation bearable. In general, it provides us with a sense of well-being and a sense of community.

Doctor Madan Kataria, the 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.”

With all the stress our country and families have been through, it may even be less this year.

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 called Laughter Yoga that stimulate merriment for better health.

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 their stress-reducing effects. It is proven that voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter.

There are physical benefits of laughter. They include reducing stress hormones, strengthening our immune system, cardiac conditioning, lower blood pressure, {especially in women), and cleaning 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 people I spend time with like to laugh.

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

Listening to her share funny stories of stressful times in her life growing up during the great depression reminds me that every situation has a humorous side. Spending 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 older than me, inspired me similarly. They knew how to use laughter as a healing agent. When we got together, we talked 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 laughter that brought tears to our eyes.

Laughter doesn’t mean you can’t be serious or 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 toward the sun.

A wise person realizes eating right and exercising is the best way to stay healthy, and it is an intelligent person who learns the importance of laughter in their life.

If we need a prescription for laughter, it can be found in a book that has been around for a long time. A Bible verse in Proverbs reminds us that joy is essential to 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 fun, and we do it often. 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 be happy in good times and bad. Teaching them always to have a sense of humor and a prayer life will guide them to set 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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