Laughter can be good or bad. It can make people happy or it can hurt their feelings. We can laugh at people about the way they look, or for something they may have said or done. This laughter is bad.
Here we are thinking about laughter that is good for us and the people we are with.
Proverb: It is a big loss to a man when he cannot laugh
Rushanthan from Sri Lanka sent us this proverb to us, and he explained what it means: "Laughter shows that we are happy. A man who laughs, brings happiness to other people and wins friends. It is like a medicine making the person feel happy and well. Someone who cannot laugh misses the joy that life can bring. He may not have friends around him. He may lose his health. His thoughts about life are sad and he stops feeling happy."
There is a proverb in the Bible (the Christians' holy book) which says the same thing: "A joyful heart is good medicine."*
Many of the stories which Jesus told are also very funny.
Scientists tell us that laughter helps us when we are ill or have big problems in our lives. They are now learning why this happens and how laughter helps us to fight illnesses in our bodies. When we laugh our blood pressure becomes lower – this is good for us. Laughter makes us use many muscles, especially in our faces. It makes our muscles exercise which helps to keep our bodies working and healthy. Scientists also tell us that when we laugh, more special cells grow in our bodies. These destroy germs that cause illness. So, if we laugh often, our bodies will be able to fight illnesses more easily.
Fighting bad feelings
We often keep bad feelings – anger, sadness, fear – inside our minds. These can make us ill. We often try to get rid of these feelings in a way that will hurt someone else. Laughter can help to take away our bad feelings.
There are many things that can make us laugh, such as a funny film or book, or friends who can tell funny stories. It is good to be with people who make us laugh. But we must not laugh in a way that will hurt other people's feelings. God wants us to be happy and to enjoy life. He can give us his joy which will last for ever. That does not mean we will always be happy and laughing. His joy is something inside us that is not changed by what is happening around us. We can have his joy if we ask him.