“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health.”
You gotta love kids and their zest for life.
I mean, who else would cheer when they see a bug? Fist bump when they reach a higher bar on the playground for the first time? Shriek with joy when they notice a rainbow?
I’m telling you. Those kids have cornered the market on cheer.
Ever tried watching those ‘try not to laugh’ videos where there are kids in the midst of a great big belly laugh and actually tried not to laugh?
It can’t be done. Those laughs and giggles and grins are contagious.
Spend time with a little once in a while, and you’ll be getting joy-wiggles by the dozens. It doesn’t seem to take much to get them grinning or cheering or giggling or all-out belly laughing.
Reportedly, children laugh about 300 times a day.
More like 20.
No wonder we sometimes walk around looking more like a cousin to that grouchy green guy who lived in a trash can than the jolly green giant.
‘Good news makes for good health’.
It makes sense that children, who laugh easily and often, would enjoy the positive health benefits of a good side giggle, while we adults with our steady diet of sad, corrupt, questionable, and downright miserable news would slowly become hardened to the power and health of humour.
We have hard days.
Oh, trust me. I know it to be true.
But if a smile can bring joy to someone else’s heart – and we know it can – and the spreading of positive and powerful stories and ideas and conversations can make for good health – well, why don’t we walk around more often with a big smile?
I have found that even in the midst of really, really challenging circumstances, a smile or positive thought or noticing something beautiful and appreciating the simple good things of life can really provide a powerful mental health boost.
So here’s the challenge.
Will you plan on smiling more?
Not a fake grimace. A smile. One of those ‘I can’t help it, my face is doing something nice’ smiles. Even in – actually, especially in – the tough places. The stretching moments. The times when we feel like giving up. The times we feel like giving in. We need to be proactively planning beautiful and fun and lighthearted enjoyment opportunities when we are being compressed and wrung out and hung up to dry. It will help to provide us with that crucial balance that keeps our hearts soft and open to the gifts to come.
Pain closes us off and makes us want to hide in a hole. Joy opens us up and keeps us pliable enough to see potential good in even the hard circumstances we find ourselves in.
So – will you commit to life with more joy, more spontaneous response to the silly things, more choosing to laugh at yourself and your mistakes?
Start doing life with a big smile more often with me?
Father, laughter is one of Your good, good gifts. Help us to enter into it more often, to release our death grip on anxiety and pain for long enough to do life with more joy. Help us to choose to laugh and to smile more often as we learn to balance the hardships of life with the beautiful blessings that children see so easily. Amen.