“A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).

In the 1300’s, surgeon Henri de Mondeville reportedly told jokes to his patients in the recovery room. Laughter exercises the face, shoulders, diaphragm, and abdomen. When the breathing deepens, the heart rate rises, and the blood takes up and transports more oxygen. Endorphins are released, pain thresholds are raised, and some studies suggest that even our immune systems are boosted.

When we laugh, others laugh too. Laughter is a contagious, highly effective, nonprescription medicine. It has no side effects, and no one is allergic to it. Have we had our dose of laughter today?

We can use the tool of humor to induce laughter for our health, healing and general sense of well-being. We can even spend time in daily practicing our laughing out loud – maybe by smiling first, then leaning into a giggle, and then in outright belly laughs!

Fr. Joseph