For a while, I’ve been meditating on laughter, and its amazing ability to heal us. One Bible proverb calls laughter ‘medicine’. Two translations read like this: Being cheerful keeps you healthy; and A cheerful disposition is good for your health. Each adds a corollary: it is slow death to be gloomy all the time. And the other says: doom and gloom leave you bone-tired.
I occasionally say to my husband, ‘I feel like a good laugh’. That’s when I go for a humorous book! There are clear medical reasons why laughter is an antidote for negativity. The ‘experts’ have proved what we already knew!
Lately, I’ve begun to wonder, can our tears also improve our health? I cry easily, and as I’ve grown older, I do it more! I must need them for my health!
There are several kinds of tears. Basal tears keep our eyes moist and in good condition. They contain important ingredients – maybe you’d like to find out more for yourself.
Then there are reflex tears. They’re similar, but produced as a reaction to irritants that could damage our eyes, such as foreign objects or exhaust fumes.
Emotional tears are different. Dr Carrie Lane of the University of Texas, says these have ingredients ‘that are produced during stress-induced danger or arousal’. Some researchers have found that emotional tears ‘have special health benefits’.
In Psychology Today, Australia, I read about the biochemist Dr. William Frey, of the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis. He’s discovered that reflex tears are 98% water, whereas emotional tears contain stress hormones too, which are excreted from the body through crying.
Dr. Frey found that emotional tears shed these hormones, as well as other toxins which accumulate during stress. Additional studies suggest that ‘crying stimulates the production of endorphins, our body’s natural pain- killer, and “feel-good” hormones’. There’s a similar article in Aging Today which also quotes him.
Laughter spreads joy, and when we’re happy, we create peace and happiness in our environment. Have you ever thought that these emotions go around the world and touch the lives of people whom we’ve never met? In the same way, our tears, which de-stress us when we learn of tragic events, can be used by God to relieve the people who are being blown away by disasters in far-off places.
This past weekend I was moved to tears as I heard about the tragic events at Easter church services, and other places in Sri Lanka. I believe my tears of compassion can motivate me to do something about such a terrible situation that’s engulfed so many innocent people as they worshipped. We have Sri Lankan families in our church, and I knew they’d be frantic for news of their families at home, and wondering if they were safe.
So the first thing I did was pray for them. Not just for the ones I know, but strangers, who may not really know God’s love. He can go where I can’t. He can miraculously comfort them and provide what they need by using others there. Like our laughter heals, our tears can take away our fear and help us to think clearly. Let’s all listen to God’s voice so we’re able to spread peace and love in our world.