My husband and I are relatively newlywed and we often “get caught” acting like kids. We rough-house, play, dance, tickle one another and laugh at any excuse. Sometimes I ask why he’s got this big smile on his face…and we both break out in giggles.
Passers-by and onlookers get to benefit from our good humor and we often see strangers smiling our way.
People, generally speaking, enjoy being around folks who are laughing, happy and having a good time. We take pleasure in watching children play. We like to laugh.
A couple of years ago, my singles group at church had a game night as a break from our weekly bible study. Someone brought this crazy electronic game, sort of like Charades on speed. The machine ticked off the time, loudly, and the ticking got faster during the last seconds. One poor fellow did so poorly at giving clues under pressure, he begged to pass his turn. His awkward bumbling and unhelpful clues caused uproarious laughter. He was the worst player but the most fun and we all pleaded with him to continue in the game.
An Oxford scholar published an extensive study on laughter last fall, concluding it is the physical exertion of laughing “ha-ha-ha” that triggers a release of endorphins. Those brain chemicals make us feel good and help us to resist pain.
(I would say, it is much more pleasant to laugh spontaneously than to sit around saying, “Ha-ha-ha” but it might be worth trying sometime, just to see if it makes me feel good or helps a headache go away.)
Another study in 2008 revealed that the mere anticipation of laughter caused participants to have higher levels of HGH (anti-aging, immune-enhancing, stress-reducing hormone) as well as the pleasure-producing endorphins. I’d say that’s fairly good confirmation that smiling is thoroughly beneficial, even if it doesn’t produce a belly laugh.
So, go ahead–make me smile; make me laugh. I want to live forever and if I can’t, I wouldn’t mind to die laughing.