Laugh

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We know that laughter is good medicine emotionally speaking, but evidence reveals that there are physical benefits as well. A number of years ago, Norman Cousins, famous editor of Saturday Review, was told he had a severe case of an incurable, progressive, connective tissue disease.  He decided instead of sitting around allowing the pain to take over, he would become proactive in his health care management and especially his attitude.  One of the things he decided to do was to obtain copies of old shows and movies he had always enjoyed like “Candid Camera” and Marx Brothers films.  He also decided to read humorous books.  He reported that 10 minutes of genuine belly laughter would relieve his intense pain for hours.

While Norman was in the hospital he started a routine of watching movies, laughing, sleeping, watch movies, laughing sleeping and so on.  After a while he was moved out of the hospital because his laughter was disturbing other patients, but he continued his treatment with astounding results.  Using massive doses of vitamin C and a tremendous amount of laughter every day, he experienced a gradual withdrawal of his symptoms and eventually regained most of his freedom of movement.  You can read his entire story in his book, Anatomy of an Illness (Bantam Books, 1981).

What are some ways you can be intentional about laughter in your own life? Sometimes it comes down to a choice. When you make a mistake or something frustrating happens, find a way to laugh rather than despair. When someone says a discouraging remark, respond with a little chuckle and a positive comment. Opportunities to laugh are all around us, we just need to be looking for them. And always remember, never laugh at people, just laugh with them.

Finally, remember to smile often. Studies show that smiling elevates our mood. I like to think of smiles as gifts we give to other people to uplift their day. It’s not about how you feel as much as it is about making someone else feel better. Be honest with your emotions and grieve when you need to, but don’t miss the many invitations to smile that show up on a regular basis. As Valentines Day approaches, may your days be filled love and laughter, as you enjoy life and lift up the people around you.

 

 

Photo by Allie Milot on Unsplash

True Positive: Day 15 – Happy List

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Recently, my friend Sharon Hill gave me two plaques for my birthday. One read, “Do one thing everyday that makes you happy.” The other was simply blank, so I could write the one thing I did that day to make me happy. Isn’t that great?

Have you ever stopped to think about what truly makes you happy? Maybe it’s spending time with family, perhaps it is reading a book or taking a stroll through the park or painting a picture. I encourage you to take some time to thoughtfully make a list of at least 15 things that make you smile. Next, determine to set aside some time on a regular basis to do one of the things on your list.

I’m not condoning self-centeredness or thinking only of your own happiness. In fact, one of the things that increases our joy is to love and serve others (which we will talk about tomorrow). But, there are times when we need to rejuvenate and be deliberate about self-care in order to avoid burnout, fatigue or exhaustion. God has made each of us with unique desires. Psalms 103 reminds us that God satisfies our desires with good things, so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Ask God to satisfy your desires and renew your strength. Look for simple ways to enjoy your “Happy List.”

Simply Radiant

Sunny Sunflowers  Oil painting on canvas.

When I first met a precious woman named Ellen, I was struck by her radiant smile. At first I didn’t notice her cane, but as she gracefully made her way over to meet me I could see that she walked with a slight limp.  Ellen told me that she was diagnosed with Spinal Bifida at birth, yet she was able to walk, and she was still thriving at seventy years of age.  Ellen is literally a walking miracle, because most children with Spina Bifida were not expected to live into adulthood. Ellen was able to be the recipient of an experimental surgery at a young age which enabled her to walk. When I told Ellen that I wanted to write her story she said, “Well make it all about Jesus, not about me.”

Ellen’s focus is not on herself; it is on the God who loves and cares for her and continues to shine His light through her.  Ellen views her physical limitations from a positive perspective. She recognizes that her challenges offer her an opportunity to reach out and serve other women who have disabilities, and we all have disabilities of some sort. Ellen is a beauty consultant and uses the platform of make-up and outward beauty to talk about the importance of inner beauty which comes from knowing the Lord.  Here’s her mission statement:

Making a DIFFERENCE in women whose lives have been touched by disability, assisting with their choice for their eternal destiny, one lipstick at a time!

Ellen realizes that no one is perfect, and our imperfections lead us to a perfect God.  It is in Him that we experience strength and joy in life. Ellen’s understanding of who God is, makes a significant difference in her life. One more thing I must tell you about Ellen is that she loves to pray. She looks to the Lord as her strength day by day, moment by moment as she visits with Him through prayer. Several times as I was engaged in conversation with Ellen she stopped to say, “Let’s go to the Father in prayer about this.” Right then and there she prayed.  And what a beautiful prayer it was, filled with love and trust and joy in her Heavenly Father.  Ellen is an example of a woman who lives with a confident hope in the Lord.  She lives with a perspective of thankfulness for the opportunity to serve God with her disability.  She also lives with a Heavenly focus, knowing that this world is not her home and that one day her earthly body will be transformed into a glorious one.

Perspective is everything, and it is a choice.  We can view our frustrations and our disappointing circumstances with anger toward God, believing that this life is all we have.  Or we can view difficulties from the perspective of “Lord, my eyes are on you. Use me in these circumstances for your glory.  Help me and give me strength along the way.”  With an eternal perspective we can live with confidence knowing that this isn’t IT.  We can look forward with confident hope toward Heaven and place our confident hope in the God who will care for us here. Ellen is a radiant woman with an eternal perspective.  I want to view the world like Ellen!

This is an excerpt from A Woman’s Secret to Confident Living