Ponderings with Doug

If the Bible tells us that “God laughs” could it be that a sense of humor is divine?
The Library of Life, Love and Laughter has compiled some fascination statistics.
Did you know…

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* Studies have pinpointed 18 different kinds of smiles? The most common and recognizable is the smile of enjoyment. (Who does the research for this sort of thing? Wouldn’t you love to have his job? I could see his college transcript. Freshman year he takes classes like Upturned Mouth 101. Later he studies the Abnormal Psychology of Smiles, like The Smirk: A Smile Gone Wrong. Finally, he’d graduate to courses such as Advanced Guffawing. Where do I sign up?)

* Thirteen muscles are used for our smiling mechanism, but 50 muscles are required for frowning? (Want to preserve your face value? Smile! You have to frown nearly a quarter of a million times to make one wrinkle. As someone has said, “Let all your lines be laugh-lines.”)

* Laughter lowers the levels of cortisol in the body? Cortisol suppresses the immune system. Lowering these levels enhances the work of the immune system and may help prevent disease.

* That you can stimulate your heart and lungs, elevate your blood pressure, and temporarily improve breathing capacity by laughing? In terms of exercise, you can get the same benefits from laughing 100 times a day as you can from 10 minutes worth of rowing? (Why sweat when you can laugh?)

* Charles Darwin believed that one’s facial expression can actually influence one’s moods? (Studies in bio-feedback confirm Darwin’s belief. We smile so that we may feel good, not just because we already feel good. Want to feel better? Even on your gloomiest day, walk around with a silly grin on your face. Of course, people will wonder what you’ve been up to.)

* Laughing for 15 seconds adds two days to the life span?
Very impressive statistics, eh? Laughter is helpful to your total well-being. It’s one of the most impressive gifts you can give to yourself. But Chicken Little League always has serious saints spying on smiling people who remind us that being silly is some form of sin.

Psychologist and educator Patricia Keith-Spiegel, in the first chapter of THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HUMOR, tells of one researcher’s cold analysis of the purely physical side of laughter. This researcher saw laughter not as an occasion for merriment but as an expression of the Heimlich maneuver. The description covers, among other details, spasms of the diaphragm, movements of the upper body, dilations of the nostrils, bulging of the eyes, and vibrations of the jaw. “Upon reading this objective description of laughter,” Keith-Spiegel observes, “one gets the feeling that a person engaging in this act must be critically ill rather than enjoying himself.” Maybe you have met this overly serious person.

The sinners, prostitutes, and children enjoyed hanging out with Jesus. Do you think it had anything to do with His smile and His laughter?

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