LAUGHTER: Is It Really That Important? by Rick London c2011

“Well, you can either laugh or cry”, I used to hear my maternal grandmother say as far back as my memory can stretch.  It was one of her favorite quotes.  Those were back in simpler days of “Father Knows Best” and pink Rambler station wagons and dial telephones.

I watched her over my lifetime handle difficult times with grace.  I shouldn’t have been surprised. She was a survivor of the Great Depression.  I really didn’t know what that meant, except from word-of-mouth and classes, until I was about age fifty, and I started seeing people lose homes and face other difficult circumstances; often people who rarely if ever did.

Why is it more important now to laugh aloud?  (And I don’t mean a fake laugh or smile; that’s far too common and rather sad), I mean finding a real belly-laugh and sharing it with others.

Medical science proved years ago that such laughter produces endorphins which can help keep us healthy.   Some good ideas are to go to a movie or watch reruns of old comedies on television.  Movies can be expensive but now online companies such as Netflix and others offer inexpensive monthly subscriptions in which the end user can watch endless films at a very reasonable price.

Another fun thing to do is buy a funny tee shirt or cap (or both) featuring cartoons, funny quotes and such.   Smile and the world smiles with you is no longer a mystery.

Send funny cards and/or gifts to friends and/or loved ones.  If you aren’t sure they would enjoy it, give it a try.  My most treasured gifts have not been expensive ones, but ones that have given me a chuckle.  It means that much more if it is from a friend or family member as it sends a powerful message as well.  It basically says, “I respect you and your intelligence enough to send you this message or cartoon” (on a card, tee, or gift). The result is often a psychological uplift for both the giver and the receiver which can last a long time; even a lifetime. It can also be a great way to mend fences from long ago.

It is very difficult to have a distaste for someone who does not take him/herself too seriously and knows how and when to laugh (and is generous enough to share laughter with someone else).

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Rick London is a freelance writer, author, cartoonist, and designer.  He founded the Internet’s #1 offbeat cartoons “Londons Times” in 2005.  Since that time he’s launched numerous shops which offer over 250,000 funny gifts bearing his cartoon images.

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