I love hanging out with my wife. She always knows how to tickle my funny bone with her corny jokes—like this one:

What’s the difference between a guitar and a fish?
You can’t tuna fish!

Laughter is good medicine. No, seriously!

Have you ever wondered if God has a sense of humor? Since we’re all made in God’s image, I believe it’s safe to say that he does, and a great one at that. Humor is part of our divinely created nature. Even infants are able to smile and laugh when barely a few months old.

Check out some of the funny and bizarre-looking creatures God made for his and our enjoyment. Ever seen a Proboscis monkey, Mantis shrimp, hooded seal, deep-sea squid, Komondor dog, Angora rabbit, Emperor Tamarin, Pink Fairy Armadillo, Axolotl (or ajolote), Aye-aye, Frill-necked lizard, or one of my personal favorites—the Blobfish? Or what about the more familiar hippopotamus, sloth, or ostrich? They are absolutely hilarious-looking animals. God apparently had tons of fun creating each of them.

I can just hear it now—God hollering, “Hey guys, you’re not gonna believe this one!” Just then the angels in heaven all spontaneously erupt in laughter.

Proverbs 15:13 (ESV) says, “A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.” Then Proverbs 17:22 (ESV) asserts, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Of all the people in the world, Christians ought to exhibit the most joy and laughter. After all, we have so much to be thankful for. However, I could swear that some believers were weaned on lemons, or at least dill pickles! They are veritable sourpusses who can be a real bummer to be around. It’s almost as if they’re afraid that if they dare to smile—never mind crack a joke—their face might just shatter in pieces. That’s sad. Whatever happened to the abundant life?

According to www.helpguide.org, there are several noteworthy benefits to developing a healthy sense of humor and learning to laugh more often. Humor is infectious and the sound of roaring laughter often contagious. Shared laughter draws people closer together and increases their collective and individual sense of well-being.

Humor and laughter hold the power to bolster your immune system, boost your energy, reduce pain, and buffer you from the negative effects of stress? Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D. says, “Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” A good laugh works wonders toward bringing your mind and body back into balance. Humor eases internal and interpersonal tension, lightens your burdens, fosters hope, and builds bonds between people, all the while keeping us grounded.

Laughter can relax the whole body. It boosts the immune system by decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Thus it strengthens one’s resistance to disease. Furthermore, laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good chemical” which can alleviate pain. It even protects the heart by improving the function of blood vessels and increasing blood flow.

Besides the many physical health benefits, laughter also has a number of mental health benefits. It adds joy and zest to life, lessens anxiety and fear, relieves emotional stress, improves mood, and increases resilience. Humor enables you to remain positive and maintain an optimistic outlook when confronted with tough situations, disappointment, and loss. It fuels your courage and sense of hope.

The social benefits of laughter include strengthening relationships through humor and playful communication, attracting others to us to forge positive bonds, enhancing teamwork, soothing conflict, and promoting group closeness. These qualities supply a strong buffer against stress, disagreements, and disappointment.

We need to actively seek opportunities to laugh. Some avenues to do this include watching funny (and clean) movies or TV shows, reading the funny pages, spending time with good-humored and fun-loving people, sharing good jokes or humorous stories, hosting game nights with friends, letting your hair down and acting silly, and making time for various fun activities with others.

So stop taking yourself so seriously. Learn to joke and laugh more. Purchase tickets to see a Christian comedian perform like Chonda Pierce, Mark Lowry, or Tim Hawkins. It will be time and money well spent.

Isn’t it time to tickle your funny bone?

Updated February 8, 2018