You’ve Got the Power!
- Written by Nancy Williams, LPC
Have you noticed how, more and more, we’re embracing a holistic approach to healing? We’re recognizing the powerful connection between the physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions of our lives. And we’re learning how important it is to address all three areas if we want to fully embrace life and successfully manage its challenges. Wander around a bookstore and you’ll find numerous writings intended to foster a sense of well-being. Items at the grocery store are being shuffled to make room for the vast assortment of health foods we’re told will boost our metabolism, improve our diet and cleanse our system. A closer look on those shelves reveals resources to help us improve our emotional health as well, from herbal supplements to relaxation CDs. Fitness centers and video programs help us shape up, meditation, massage and music calm us down, counseling and self-help books guide our focus, and Bible studies lead us to seek God’s direction toward a positive, hopeful approach to life. As you consider each of these areas and stock your virtual medicine cabinet with tools to foster your own health, consider the therapeutic value of laughter. The Bible says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine” (Proverbs17:22) and we’ve heard much about the healing power of laughter. I do believe it has a positive impact on us, physically, emotionally and even spiritually, because I’ve seen it’s power reflected in the lives of clients, friends and family members, even in my own life as we cope with life’s challenges. Laughter is, indeed, good medicine. Research tells us so and our own lives confirm it. It comes easily when life is flowing as we wish, but how can we find that laughter on those more difficult days? We can begin with a smile. I’ve heard it said that the average adult laughs twenty-five times a day and the average child four hundred times a day. Out of the mouths of our little ones comes an important life lesson for us to heed. We see newborns smile sometimes as early as six weeks of age. Even children born blind or deaf have an intuitive smile response when they feel pleasure. And laughter often follows children’s smiles, flowing with freedom and abandon. Their simplicity and genuineness touch our hearts and sometimes even change our lives. Just as a child chooses to smile, we have that same opportunity to experience joy and share it with someone else. Do you notice the effect smiling has on your overall disposition? Interestingly, the more you choose to smile, the better you feel—physically as well as emotionally. And a smile, like laughter, is contagious. When someone smiles and you return the gesture, you make a connection. Even if only for a brief moment, you experience the pleasure of exchanging a precious gift. I treasure the time I spend with my little granddaughter. Of all the experiences we share, the ones that burn so brightly in my mind and heart are the smiles she gives to me—the sparkle in her eyes, the grin from dimple to dimple and the giggles that bubble up from within her. I can’t help but smile back. The smiles and laughter we enjoy together are such sweet expressions of the love we share. Smiles and laughter lift our spirits and warm our hearts with a reminder that life has its difficulties, but it also has its joys. Look into the eyes of a child as she smiles. You see hope, joy, love and a desire to share a moment in time with you. You just can’t help but smile back. And that exchange is not limited to our connections with children. So…smile! Smile at your family and friends. Smile at the driver in the car next to you as you wait in traffic. Smile at your co-workers. Look across the yard and smile at your neighbors. Smile at the staff in the restaurant and the workers where you shop. Smile as you soak up nature’s beauty. Let your face light up as you listen to your favorite music. Allow pleasant memories to bring a smile to your face. And next time you look in a mirror? Smile!. Nancy Williams, LPC is a licensed counselor, life coach, speaker and writer. Send comments to her at www.nancywilliams.net.