A Cheerful Heart
EMOTIONAL WELLNESS – Be mindful of how you feel! Engage in mindfulness activities such as yoga and tai chi; talk with your doctor or counselor if you’re feeling blue.
SPIRITUAL WELLNESS – Connect with your spirit! Use ways that are meaningful to you:whether that’s through your place of worship, prayer, or meditation.
It’s obvious to me that my husband, Tim, is on the other side of the camera in this picture. He’s the comedian in the family; the only one that can make our daughter and me laugh with complete abandon. And, we don’t do it often enough!
Studies show that we laugh less as we journey further down the path of life. What a pity, because laughter is good medicine.* Laughter can be good for the heart and help in the production of endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals produced in the brain that have an effect that makes us feel good.
Having indulged our analytical adult side, let’s now retreat to the child-like simplicity of knowing that laughter creates the magic that soothes the soul and unites people like nothing else can.
Laughter, like yawning, can be contagious. I remember sitting in a movie theater laughing long after the funny part was over simply because my husband still was. We were laughing so hysterically that we began to cry and sweat profusely, and it seriously wasn’t funny anymore. At that point, there’s a fine line between laughing and crying. Perhaps that’s what the saying means to, “Laugh ‘til you cry.” This was one of those few belly laughs I’ve experienced as an adult.
No one laughs so unabashedly as a toddler. It takes next to nothing to bring on a full-blown belly laugh (as you will see in the first link at the end of this post). So, I ask myself, why? Why do we quit experiencing those belly laughs with such intensity and frequency as we age?
I can recall as I aged, the fear and inhibitions that welled up within me during adolescence, replacing the carefree moments I experienced as a toddler. Then the complicated stage of adulthood came, and life had become a serious matter: paying the bills, starting a career, raising children, losing loved ones, living by schedules and less by the seat of my pants. There are just so many bumps in the broken road that can let the air out of our laughter balloons as we age.
I understand that life will have its melancholy moments, and that it’s unrealistic to think anyone can laugh all the time. Still it’s a shame that the child within runs and hides when life gets tough because this child possesses something we desperately need, and may have lost along the way.
Could we have quit laughing because we lost the unblemished, childhood faith we were born with? Has that faith been betrayed, left unattended and faded; like old glory withstanding the relentless, ravaging winds of time?
Faith must be practiced and used in order to “keep up the faith.” Faith gives us hope, and hope gives us a cheerful heart.
A cheerful heart makes the child within more willing to come out and play. As we are refined by age™, we should share this magical child more with the world and demonstrate that our inner child needn’t play hide and seek so often.
May we continue to walk by faith.
* “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)
“And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 8:13 (NIV)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)
YouTube Video: Baby Laughing Hysterically at Ripping Paper
YouTube Video: Walk By Faith by Jeremy Camp
(Please watch this video in full screen for the best viewing.)