Hope. Have you ever thought about how it’s played a role in your life?
To see the bigger picture, it’s important to know what it is.
What is Hope?
When you look up it’s definition, you’re likely to find it defined as a feeling,
or a belief, or an attitude. A couple of dictionary sites define it as a wishing or a strong desire for future events or circumstances that either affect one’s own life, or aspects of the world.
Some say hope is just dreaming. Some say it’s a mirage that we try to hold onto when we want a different future or more of the same positive circumstances in the future. But, what’s the alternative? Without even knowing you, I’d venture to say that you and I would probably both much prefer hope to hopelessness.
And a better question might be: if we hope with strong emotion and exacting vision, is it possible for our own energy to help manifest what we hope for? (No, we can’t hope to change the sky green or other impossible feats, but within the realm of reason, could strong hope change the future?)
What is Hope to me? Based on my own life and what those close to me have experienced,
Beams of sunshine coming through the window in the morning
The belief that life doesn’t end when the physical form dies
Knowing that there could be an end to pain
Knowing that there could be a cure
A job offer
The starting line… or the finish line in sight
The promise that children will have it better off than their parents
A sunset… and then a sunrise
The words, “It’s treatable”
A dog’s wagging tail
A wish to win
A wish not to lose
A wish for safety
A day without violence
A desire that they love you back
The list can go on, but one thing’s for certain. Life would be drastically different and clearly much worse without the existence of hope.
Who doesn’t like to laugh? Doesn’t it just feel good?
Most of us have heard the phrase,
“laughter is the best medicine,” but is it really? There’s more and more research to suggest that it does not only provide preventive benefits, but also self- healing, as well.
If you don’t want to just take my word for it, check out these resources:
The Power of Laughter
Psychology Today states that there’s evidence that laughter reduces blood sugar levels, helps blood vessels perform better, positively impacting the endothelium, (the lining of blood vessels,) which offsets the negative impact that stress has on the cardiovascular system. (1)
The University of Maryland cites a study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center where they found that people who they studied with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh in certain situations than those with no heart condition at the same age.(2)
The NCBI published results of a study on
laughter that concluded, “Laughter has shown physiological, psychological, social, spiritual, and quality of life benefits. Adverse effects are very limited…”(3)
Total Health Institute states: “Another simple but very effective way to boost your immune system and balance your hormonal system is to laugh. Isn’t it interesting how our mind affects our body?”(4)
Maybe this is why there is actually something gaining a lot of credence in healing communities called laugh therapy (or laughter therapy). Laugh therapy is the purposeful incorporation of authentic laughter into your life to combat day-to-day stress or stress on the body and mind due to disease, loss, or other malady. Heck. There’s even laughter yoga now!
Aside from the health benefits, there are social benefits, too. That makes sense, right? Don’t we all love to be around people who laugh easily? I’m talking about the people who have a quick wit and positive demeanor, not those who laugh because of tension or nervousness.
These folks find enjoyment quickly and more effortlessly, or at least it seems so. Also, those who tend to laugh a lot usually seem to be having fun, and we all want that, don’t we? If we’re serious all the time, we get serious results from our lives.
We are made to want to play, to have fun and find enjoyment from life. Maybe that’s why we are naturally drawn to those who easily make their own fun, find wonderment, and, yes… laugh.
Jeffrey Briar, Director of Laughter Yoga Institute states that the more a person chuckles, the easier it becomes. Is this a mental thing more than a physical one? It’s probably a combination of both; it exercises the mental and physical “muscles.” It becomes more habitual.
Here’s another fun fact: laughter begets laughter. When you see others doing it, you’re much more likely to join in, too! (You’ve seen the same thing with yawning, right?) So let’s pass on the laughter and forego the yawning.
Want to add more laughter to your life?
5 Ways to Add More Laughter to Your Life
Think about what’s funny. When you find yourself being very serious in a situation that doesn’t have to be, think about what’s funny about it. Catch yourself being too serious and purposefully lighten up.
Make it a point to read things and watch shows that make you laugh.
Seek out others that make you laugh, or that look at the lighter side of things. (Have you heard the phrase, “You become like those people that you spend most of your time with?” So true.)
Find a comedian that makes you laugh. Purchase and listen to / watch them frequently. It’s worth it!
Are you up for some laugh yoga? Try it out if you are. There’s a reason why it’s a trend.
Regardless of how you do it, think about how you can get more laughter in on a day-to-day basis. There’s no downside, and you just might find that a lot more people seek out your company!
Want some good resources to help you with this? Check out these books!
The above links are affiliate links.
Psychology Today; “Laughter: The Best Medicine”; Hara Estroff Marano; 4/5/2005; reviewed 6/9/2016.
University of Maryland Medical Center; “Laughter is the Best Medicine for Your Heart”; July 14, 2009
US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health; “The therapeutic value of laughter in medicine”’ 2010 Nov-Dec; 16(6): 56-64.
4) Total Health Institute; “Laughter Boosts Immune System and Helps Fight Cancer”; Dr Keith Nemec; 6/24/2012.