“A joyful heart is the health of the body, but a depressed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
In April 2016 Norwegian researchers studied the relationship between a sense of humor and mortality. 53,556 women and men were followed over a 15-year period. The results were published in Psychosomatic Medicine. Among the findings was that a sense of humor was associated with 48% less risk of death from multiple illnesses for women. For men, humor was associated with a 74% reduced risk of death from infection.
How does one cultivate a sense of humor? You know the mantra. Begin by taking better care of your body. Eat less simple carbs and more fruits and veggies, take a multi-vitamin, get more sleep, exercise, and drink less alcohol. In addition, watch funny movies and engage in healthy pleasurable activities. Schedule mini-vacations during the week and instead of using the time to catch up with unfinished tasks do something you like to do! We were not created to be work drones, even if you think that’s true.
If praying doesn’t facilitate lightness of heart, change how you pray. Sing along with your favorite Christian/Catholic musician or dance. King David famously danced his prayer of thanksgiving. If depression wreaks havoc on your body making it impossible to feel pleasure and happiness go to your doctor. Take medicine if prescribed and seek a therapist who can teach you how to foster a sense of humor. By the way if your therapist is humorless, find another one. There’s nothing more depressing than having a humorless therapist.
God wants us to experience laughter and joy or He wouldn’t have created us with the capability. Do your part, ask God for health and healing, try to hang out with people who tend to laugh, and although this may sound strange, practice being humorous. Lightheartedness is a virtue to be developed as well as a means of becoming healthier.
Picture is a work from the U.S. Military taken as part of official duties. It is public domain in the United States. On wikimedia commons.