I’m old enough to remember my parents being sure that cod liver oil was good for whatever ailment I might have or as a preventative to take care of any possible future ailments. Turns out, they were right: Cod liver oil is used for high cholesterol, high triglycerides, kidney disease in people with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoarthritis, depression, an autoimmune disease called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), glaucoma, and middle ear infections (otitis media). While I know that it apparently was very appropriate to good health, that didn’t eliminate the fact that it tasted absolutely horrible.
If you’re a male, you’ve all heard the expression, Take it like a man–meaning to respond to pain, hardship, adversity, or emotional distress in a collected, aggressive, and typical or stereotypical masculine manner, especially without question, crying, complaining, or becoming emotional–not very politically correct these days. This certainly was applied to me when it was time for the cod liver oil But isn’t this exactly what we all feel we must to do in unpleasant and unhappy situations.
I prefer God’s prescription for health and happiness. A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22) But does it really act like a medicine? According to some researchers laughter can:
- Lower blood pressure.
- Increase vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood.
- Give a workout to the diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles.
- Reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
- Increase the response of tumor and disease-killing cells such as Gamma-interferon and T-cells.
- Defend against respiratory infections–even reducing the frequency of colds–by immunoglobulon in saliva.
- Increase memory and learning; in a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, humor during instruction led to increased test scores.
- Improve alertness, creativity, and memory.
- helps the pituitary gland release its own pain-suppressing opiates.
Humor works quickly. Less than a half-second after exposure to something funny, and electrical wave moves through the higher brain functions of the cerebral and the above benefits begin to work.
It’s no surprise that Paul writes in I Thessalonians 5:16, Always be joyful! And the Psalmist wrote, I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, For You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities (Psalms 31:7) Happy are the people whose God is the Lord! (Psalms 144:15) because He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting. (Job 8:21) And when we are filled with laughter, and we sing for joy, the other nations will say, ‘What amazing things the LORD has done for them ‘ (Psalm 126:2 paraphrased)
So be happy and laugh it up. It’s good for you. Just like cod liver oil–only better.