The Benefits of Smiling & Laughing | Inspirational Podcast

Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, makers of wearable inspiration for a better world. Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from the book The Optimistic Life by Orison Swett Marden, published in 1907…

When writer Edith Wyatt was a student at Bryn Mawr College, she was known as “the girl in the cheering-up business.” Homesick students, discouraged students, students who were behind in their studies, weary students went to her for a bit of brightness and encouragement, and always found it. She radiated mental sunshine from every pore.

There is a great opening in the cheering-up business, plenty of room for everybody, and it does not interfere with any other calling. One may do more good in it than in one’s regular vocation. Somehow these cheerful people have the power of unlocking the faculties, loosening the tongue, to make us speak with the gift of prophecy. These sunshine characters are health promoters. They are the unpaid boards of health who look after the public welfare.

The faculty of humor was given us to be developed, as much as the faculty for earning a living. The universality of fun-loving, shows its importance. It is as much our duty to develop the mirth-loving faculty as the mathematical faculty or language. There is every evidence that the fun-loving faculty was intended to be the strongest in human nature, instead of the weakest. It ought to be developed and stimulated. It is the great medicine of the mind — the great uplifter and lubricator. It is wonderful how the cultivation of the habit of enjoying things will transform the whole life, so that we see everything in a different light.

This does not suggest frivolity or flippancy; but the normal, natural development of humor. Great healthy natures are always fun-loving. It is positively sinful to suppress mirthful tendencies in young people — who should be bubbling over, joyous and happy, exulting in mere existence. A serious and sober face on a child should be unthinkable. It is incompatible with God’s plan. What has care and anxiety to do with young life? Care and anxiety and worry in a young face show that somebody is at fault.

“Laugh until I come back” was the good-bye often used by the famous American minister Edward Taylor. Yet many people have ruined their ability to laugh. They have no rebound, no elasticity. To them, a sense of humor is a weakness, frivolous and inconsistent with the dead-in-earnest, sober life. Life is a thing to be taken seriously, they say.

These people feel the weight of the woes of the world. They are loaded down with this responsibility. They cannot understand how anybody can take such a light, flippant view of life as to spend time in fun-making. These people give us the impression that the whole universe would stop were it not for them. They go around with a serious aggrieved air, with the world resting upon their shoulders.

Joyous people are not only the happiest, but the longest lived, the most useful and the most successful. A sense of humor, the love of fun in human nature, is a normal, natural lubricant which oils life’s machinery, makes it run smoothly, and relieves that grinding of the bearings which prematurely wears away so many lives…..

Read The Entire Essay in Evergreen: 50 Inspirational Life Lessons

50 Inspirational Life Lessons