I will see the humor in a potentially negative situation and will not take the things that happen today too seriously.

Posted on 6+000011. Filed under: 20/20 Vision: Changing Your Life by Changing the Way You See Things, Books by Bishop Jim Swilley, Laughter, Peptide neurotransmitters, Self-esteem | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

laughing_faceLaughter puts things in perspective.  Having a sense of humor about the events that occur in your life every day really helps you to see things more clearly.  James Thurber said: “Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.”  Mark Twain said. “Humor is the great thing, the saving thing.  The minute it crops up, all our irritation and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.”  Mel Brooks stated that “Humor is just another defense against the universe,” while Groucho Marx said that “Humor is reason gone mad.”  The common thread in every attempted definition of humor is that it shapes and reshapes perspective and defines perception.


We certainly know that humor, especially as it is released in laughter, is something that possesses healing properties for the mind and for the physical body.  ‘A happy heart is a good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones” (Proverb 17:22 – AMP).  Some studies have shown that a good, hearty laugh can be as restorative to the body as a full eight hours of quality sleep and can significantly boost your immune system.  Some have even testified that they were literally cured of diseases through daily, extended periods of laughter via exposure to humorous material, and there is a good bit of scientific evidence to back up their claims.



“We all operate in two contrasting modes, which might be called open and closed.  The open mode is more relaxed, more receptive, more exploratory, more democratic, more playful and more humorous.  The closed mode is the tighter, more rigid, more hierarchical, more tunnel-visioned.  Most people, unfortunately, spend most of their time in the closed mode.  Not that the closed mode cannot be helpful.  If you are leaping a ravine, the moment of takeoff is a bad time for considering alternative strategies.  When you charge the enemy machine-gun post, don’t waste time trying to see the funny side of it.  Do it in the “closed” mode.  But the moment the action is over, try to return to the “open” mode – to open your mind again to all the feedback from our action that enables us to tell whether the action has been successful, or whether further action is needed to improve on what we have done.  In other words, we must return to the open mode, because in that mode we are the most aware, most receptive, most creative, and therefore at our most intelligent.”

– John Cleese


Laughter does release certain peptide neurotransmitters in the brain called endorphins that have very effective pain-relieving properties, but the most important function of a sense of humor involves mental perception.  A sense of humor has the ability to make you take a second look at a situation, especially a negative one, and see it in a completely different light.  By being able to laugh at yourself, you actually can increase self-esteem, boost your sense of self-worth, and bring the inner image of yourself into proper balance.  Laughter keeps us in the open mode where we are able to see ourselves and the world around us in a more positive light and not be weighed down by our perceived troubles.


Because the Bible has been so misunderstood and misinterpreted, most of its readers don’t realize that when Jesus used phrases like “you strain at gnats and swallow camels” or “don’t try to get a splinter out of your brother’s eye when you have a 2×4 in your own eye,” He was actually using absurdist humor to get His point across.  These concepts may not get a chuckle out of our jaded, modern, western sensibilities, but you can be assured that when He originally said them His audiences responded with laughter.  Don’t take everything so seriously and you’ll be able to better hear these and other spiritual concepts.  You can change you life by changing the way you see things.



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