Tuesday, January 24, 2012

LIGHTEN UP!

"I have seen what a good laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful."  ~Bob Hope

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength."
~Proverbs 12:22

"Lighten up!" I speak these two words to myself often. I can get so caught up in the seriousness of my daily responsibilities and concerns that my whole body tenses up. When this happens, I am more prone to headaches...backaches...stomachaches...even heartaches. My mood matches my physical condition, and another precious day goes down the drain, unlived and unenjoyed.

"Lighten up!" I tell myself. Worrying NEVER accomplishes anything. And the tension in my body and mind aren't going to move mountains either. But a warm smile, listening ears, a tender heart, and an open home can change the world...one person...one encounter...at a time. The only way I am going to be freed up to live my life like this is to lighten up.

For me, this means taking it (whatever "it" is) to God's throne and leaving it there. It means breathing deeply with a grateful spirit for all that is good and right in my world. It means pausing to reflect on all that God has already done on my behalf. It means breaking out of the isolation and reaching out to others.

Sometimes, the best thing I can do is to have a hearty laugh. The Bible says that laughter is good medicine. Scientists now back this up with evidence. Chemicals are released in our brains when we laugh that help us to de-stress and feel better. Funny TV shows and movies work well for me. A favorite of mine is the silly sitcom, Home Improvement. I will put a DVD on while I clean, do laundry, exercise, you name it. When the news gets too depressing or I feel myself getting worked up over it, I switch the channel to something funny.

"Lighten up!" It's a beautiful day and I can choose to make the most of it. Sure, there's bound to be bumps in the road. But I can take them to God's throne. I can breathe deeply and choose gratitude for all that is praise-worthy. I can call a friend or family member and put my focus onto someone else. And if none of these lighten my spirits, there's always an episode or two of Home Improvement ready to tickle my funny bone. Life is just too short not to lighten up!

"Laughter is the shock absorber that eases the blows of life."  ~Author Unknown

"A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book."
~Irish Proverb

"What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul." ~Yiddish Proverb

"Laughter is an instant vacation." ~Milton Berle

"I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose." 
~Woody Allen        

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