Martin: Laughter is good for the heart and soul

Published 6:15 pm Friday, November 3, 2017

By Jerria Martin | Martin is a minister and director of Drug Free Communities of Dallas County.

A wise man once told me that laughter is good for the soul. When was the last time you had a good laugh?

What’s the funniest joke you’ve ever heard? Working as director of Drug Free Communities of Dallas County, my days are always full of fun and laughter.

Sometimes jokes are heard in the strangest of places. One lesson I’ve learned while working with the youth throughout Selma and Dallas County is that our kids have the greatest sense of humor.

Our student leaders are always joking, laughing, bringing joy to their teachers and peers through the power of laughter. As a matter of fact, the best joke I’ve heard in a while came from an 11-year-old seventh grader at Martin Middle School earlier this week.

While attending their Drug Free Pizza Party, I had a moment to sit, chat and exchange jokes with the students.

After I told my joke, a teacher chimed in asking, “Why did the chicken cross the park?” “Why” we all asked. “To get to the other slide.” We all chuckled.

Then this little guy raised his hand saying, “I got one, I got one!”

“Go ahead,” the teacher said.

The young man asked, “Why didn’t the toilet tissue cross the road? “Why,” we all asked.

“It got stuck in a crack!”

I found myself sitting in my office days later still laughing at this joke and I’ve shared it at least a dozen times to spread the gift of laughter with my peers and youth leaders. Laughter truly is good for the soul.

Thomas Aquinas reminds us, “It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.”

To lighten the mood of the congregation prior to my sermons, I love sharing humorous illustrations to lead into my message.

At our Rotary meetings, attorney Bill Gamble always shares an enlightening yet funny, word of wisdom or altruism to begin our time together placing service above self.

I bet you can name at least one person you can call right now who’ll know just what to say to make you laugh out loud.

There may be many reasons for us to frown or feel down, but there’s also many reasons to smile surrounding us each day.

Laughter can be a powerful tool.

Did you know that laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving our resistance to disease?

Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Smile today, bless your soul or someone else’s with the gift of humor, because there’s therapeutic, empowering, and hilarious hope in laughter.