Are you a people watcher? Sometimes I just love to sit on a bench in the mall, at a park or in an airport and just watch people. I wonder who they are, where they are going and what has happened in their life. You can assume a lot from people watching. I often look for people who look happy. Those that are really being present in the moment and enjoying their life. You can see those that are sad, frustrated, stressed and happy. I have lived long enough to know that a smile can mask a lot.
According to a 2017 Harris Poll only 33% of Americans said they were happy. That’s only 1/3 of our neighbors, church friends, co-workers and family. This is a sad statistic, but also probably very realistic. So many of us are going through the motions, striving, working, living, loving, but we are missing a crucial part of life…joy.
The reality is so disheartening and detrimental that the field of Psychology is beginning to understand the importance of happiness. There is a new branch of Psychology called Positive Psychology- the science of happiness. This isn’t the surface level of happiness that we are used to hearing about, but the deeper form that we believers know as joy.
God made us to enjoy life. The words joy, rejoice and joyful appear 430 times in the Bible (ESV).
There are so many health benefits. According to Positive Psychology happiness and laughter:
decrease stress hormones
decrease hunger hormones
lowers blood pressure
lowers bad cholesterol
increase good cholesterol
I have heard that 90% of illnesses and disease are a result of stress. If this is true, then wouldn’t the cure for stress and most resulting illnesses and disease be joy?
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
One study shows when people watch a funny move, their blood vessels open and their blood flows more freely. Another study shows that 40% of Americans rarely engage in hobbies and past-times they enjoy.
So here are some ways to increase laughter in your life:
1. Call your funny friend, or the 1 that loves to laugh too. 2. Go see a funny movie. 3. Try something fun and new and laugh along the way.
Jewish Proverb- “As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul.”
Maybe you are in a valley right now and you can’t even imagine laughing until you pee your pants. Where do you start? Spend time with God. I know this sounds so easy and trite, but it really is the answer to most of our stuff. Psalms 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
We are filled with joy in His presence. It’s a deeply spiritual, yet basic foundational benefit to our salvation and relationship with the Lord.
So today, I wish you happiness, laughter, and joy. Find your funny again. Get your joy back. If you have it already, protect it at all cost.
The joy of the Lord is your strength! Nehemiah 8:10
Staying Joy-full, Tiffany Tiffany Jo Baker MA, CLC