Learning to Laugh Again

Written by Kari West

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy (Job 8:21, TLB).

Your luster is lasting. And so is your smile. But it’s more than a sunny disposition. There’s light behind your eyes and passion in your voice. You’re laughing again.

You are not a dry-clean only item. Stiff. Starched. Confined inside a stuffy bag. You’re one swanky number who is comfortable with yourself. You’re not embarrassed by a little wear and tear or wrinkles. You are no longer hanging out in the back of the closet.

“He turned my sorrow into joy!” wrote the psalmist. “He took away my clothes of mourning and gave me gay and festive garments” (Psalm 30:11-12, TLB).

Get the last laugh

“Happy hormones” like immunoglobulin and cytokines, experts say, fight bacteria and viruses and destroy tumors. Just a quarter hour of belly laughing is enough aerobic activity to stimulate and increase these hormones. Laughter stimulates blood ciruclation and oxygenation and promotes clear thinking. It increases “natural killer” white blood cells, according to researchers Lee Berk and Arthur Stone. Their studies suggest healing is accelerated in people who laugh.

Other research shows that even the act of smiling when you don’t feel like it can reduce stress and improve your mood. Not only does it elicit positive responses from others, but it also promotes a sense of well-being. According to psychologist Paul Ekman of the Human Interaction Lab at the University of California in San Francisco, real smiles and fake smiles produce identical changes in brain activity, skin temperature, heart rate and respiration.

Nobody ever died of laughter. ~ Max Beebohm

Let life’s absurdities tickle you pink

Do whatever it takes to release those happy brain chemicals. Start exercising that muscle attached to your funny bone. With practice, you’ll get the hang of it. Begin by compiling a humor profile. What were your favorite pass-the-time moments as a child? What activities made you really happy? Was it slapping together mud pies in the sandbox? Playing “Skip to My Lou?” Fishing with your big brother? Flying kites? What did you beg your mom and dad to do over and over again? As you grew up, what Sunday funnies did you read and which comedians made your crack up? These are keys to what will make you feel good now.

Comedy is tragedy–plus time. ~ Carol Burnett

  • Make a laughter scrapbook. Fill it with cartoons, jokes, stories, funny greeting cards, kids’ sayings, and overheard comments that make you laugh.
  • Read the funnies faithfully.
  • Ask people to save and send you things that are humorous.
  • Keep a pencil and paper by the TV so you can record one-liners that get you giggling.
  • Spend half an hour at the card store. Write anything funny in your notebook.

Few women admit their age. Few men act theirs. ~ Author unknown

  • Build a play box. Collect small toys, gag gifts, and whimsical items that are fun, colorful and cuddly. Take a chuckle break and delve into it.
  • Pull out of a bottle of bubbles and blow them around the office.
  • Disguise your voice in a foreign accent and leave a mysterious message on your friend’s answering machine.
  • Call your sister and tell her the latest “knock-knock” joke.
  • Ask your kids for crazy rhymes and riddles.

Climb every mountain!
Ford every stream!
Follow every rainbow!
(That oughtta reduce middle-age spread.) ~ Author unknown

Cultivate wacky humor in your family. Ask: What will be important 100 years from now? That you got mad at your teenager’s latest insult and tired to set him straight, or that you turned into an occasion to laugh? You might also lift his heavy burdens, not by trying to “talk” about it, but by leaving things in his room that make him laugh. Tape clever sayings inside closets or tuck them under pillows. Leave a dollar–or five–where someone will find it–in the pocket of favorite jeans, the toe of shoe or a textbook. Catch him laughing with friends and take notes on what works. Spread those feel-good hormones however and wherever you can.

Laughter is a shock absorber that eases the blows of life. ~ Author unknown

Don’t be embarrassed by what tickeles your funny bone. Chuckle over babies spitting bubbles. Grin at your ability to repeat a joke–and remember the punch line. You will feel better if you can laugh at your mistakes and smile through what ails you. Happiness attracts like a magnet. You will you get others laughing with you. Laughter sweeps cobwebs out of closet corners and keeps the moths out. It’s time to put on your festive garments!

Prayer Pause: Lord, as the words of Psalm 126:1-3 express, You have done great things for me and I am glad. I can’t believe that I have looked adversity straight in the face and now I’m catching myself giggling again. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” How I need more of this divine prescription that You have provided to heal my grieving heart!

Excerpted from When He Leaves: Choosing to Live, Love and Laugh Again, by Kari West and Noelle Quinn, and Dare to Trust, Dare to Hope Again: Living with Losses of the Heart, by Kari West.

13 Responses to “Learning to Laugh Again”

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Paully, what has changed in your life since that bypass surgery? What do you think is keeping you from laughing? Has your relationship with Jesus changed since 2007?

  • paully says:

    Thanks for the article. To be very frank after my bypass heart surgery in 2007 my laughter totally stopped and it is 10 years that I have never laughed or enjoyed any jokes or humorous things or situation. I am 67yrs and want to live a laughter filled life . Please advise what to do. I am a follower of Jess Christmas and Jehovah god.

  • Sharon says:

    thank you for your article good one I love to laugh and like other people to laugh at my jokes. I like being funny I also do serious too when I have to do. sharon

  • jess says:

    Thanks for the response, Jamie. Your answer relieves me somewhat.Actually, I do love to laugh and I have often fought a loosing battle for this idea among some of my people who would rather cry at the half empty glass, because of course others around them have the full glass :)

    The Bible is a two edged sword, many times I have had these verses flung back at me and I have no defense against it. So I thought to ask someone who would know more

    Reg. your question to me – I really don’t know what Jesus wants from me, but your answer to my question makes me happy.

    Have a happy and safe weekend.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Jess, I understand your concern about this verse because it does seem to be suggesting that laughter is a bad thing. It is helpful, though, to look at the verse in the whole context of Jesus’ teaching in this situation. In Luke 6 Jesus is doing and saying a lot of counter cultural things which is shaking up the status quo of 1st century Palestine. He is helping people to change their perspective from seeing their life from their point of view and instead seeing it as God does. As a part of that He talks about the way they assessed who is blessed in life. Normally we would say that those who have health wealth and happiness in this life are blessed, but Jesus states the opposite; He said, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” (Luke 6:20-23) The poor, the hungry, the mourners, the hated are blessed because they are drawn to seek and know God. You will notice in these verses that Jesus does promise that the mourners will laugh, so we know that laughter is not inherently wrong or sinful.

    The Jesus contrasts all of that by saying, “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:24-26) The flip side is that when things are going well in life we often don’t search for God, but instead try to keep pleasing ourselves and other people. That often leads us away from God rather than toward Him. The lesson from all this is to seek God and what He plans for you rather than seeking to take the easiest road in life.

    So don’t be afraid of laughter, but be sure to keep your eyes on Jesus and follow His leading even if it is difficult and painful. There may be trouble for a time, but you will be blessed by Him because of your willingness to serve Him no matter what. Are there things that Jesus is asking of you that seem hard?

  • jess says:

    Luke 6:25  Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.

    Luke chapter 6:25 petrifies me, does this verse apply to everyone? Then why would people want to laugh?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Thanks Joe, I am glad to hear that your darkness has been pierced with joy. Are there some of the practical ideas from this article that you think will be helpful for you to implement?

    Let me pray for you: Lord God, thank You for brightening Joe’s life with Your joy. I pray that You would help him pursue joy in his life and continue to find that in You. Remind him of Your faithfulness and of Your constant presence with him. Let him feel Your limitless love flow in him and through him into the lives of others. Thank You, amen.

    I look forward to hearing back from you Joe.

  • Joe says:

    For the longest time I resented laughter. To be honest, I still do… my life has been a dark void for joy… but the scripture used and the way this is so beautifully written has me feeling joy…

    In my brokenness, thank you for writing this and praise be to God.

  • Elkay says:

    Hi Website . . . thank you for your compliment! We are pleased and blessed when one of our articles is helpful to others. One of Jesus’ Beatitudes includes the promise that “God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh.” (Lk 6:21, NLT) As a follower of Christ, we certainly have a lot to look forward to . . . may God bless you today with exactly what you need today.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Karen, I’m pleased to hear that this piece can help you on your journey. It sounds like you’ve been through a rough time. If you’d like someone to pray with you, or someone to talk to privately we have mentors available. You can use this form to request a mentor and your mentor will be in touch in a day or two.

  • Karen says:

    Thank you for writing this. Today is the start of my journey to really laugh again. I have lost my light heart.

  • Nicole says:

    My child was murdered and I went through a divorce. Dealing with the murder pre-trials, murder trial, divorce and much more for several years hindered my natural ability to laugh. Seemingly I smile quite often, but I laughed so much before. This short article brought tears to my eyes and a tiny; very tiny giggle in agreement with what I read.

    Laughing again isn’t so easy! I thank God that you for posting the article.


  • Rico says:

    Thank you so much. I have not been laughing and smiling as I would like. Reading this brought me laughters, excitement, maybe a couple teary eyes. Laughter is the key.

    thank you, muchas gracias,


Leave a Reply