The Funny Thing About Happiness

March 2, 2023
Reading time: 3 minutes
Appreciation, Happiness

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It’s no wonder that the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” was sung by a famous Pisces. The effervescent energy in this month is definitely worth singing about… so thank you, Bobby McFarren! Yet, as Kabbalist (and my dear husband) Michael Berg shared last week, “The difference between those of us who will manifest great blessings this month and those of us who won’t lies in how far we’re willing to go out of our way to create laughter and joy!”

That’s because laughter and joy are among our greatest spiritual tools. And they can be found almost anywhere! The holiday of Purim, which falls on March 6-7 this year, celebrates the victorious power of the Light. In the Purim story (read from a scroll called the Megillah), an evil courtier plots to wipe out thousands of people in ancient Persia. Yet irony–a common device used in humor–provides the twists that lead to the tale’s happy ending. Along the way, identities are blurred, a king is transformed, and the villain’s plot becomes his own demise. At Purim, we’re reminded that bringing a “consciousness of Light” to even our most challenging moments can save us from being consumed by them.

Great tragedies aside (as these demand our action first), we don’t have to just “get through” those snags and embarrassments that life presents from time to time. Instead, we can use them to benefit our spiritual evolution! We can connect with happiness most easily when we actively search for the proverbial brighter side. The funny side! Because life is full of absurdities and ironies, and–more often than not–they are closer than we think.

Case in point: Some years back, Michael and I were traveling through the airport at a time when I was VERY pregnant with one of our children. To add to the delights of my extreme physical discomfort, the security screening alarm would NOT. Let. Me. Through! I figured that I’d forgotten some small metal item–maybe a watch, a button, or a pair of earrings. But once every possible trigger had been cleared or removed, I still set off the ominous BUZZ!

Well, you know what that meant: BRING ON THE SEARCH PARTY! So there I was, standing like an overfilled balloon in the pat-down lane, with a kind security woman–and later, a few other well-meaning officers–trying to identify the culprit. (Hint: those pregnancy bras have more scaffolding than most construction sites!)

The point? I might have gotten angry or upset–and sure, it was pretty embarrassing–but instead of lashing out, I just laughed and asked if anyone else wanted to join the party. People passed by and laughed with me. And it felt good to see other stressed-out travelers slow down and smile. Who knows? Maybe that little inconvenience for me made someone else’s trip just a tiny bit better!

And that’s what humor does: it connects us to ourselves and to others. International humorist and author Scott Friedman believes that “the highest form of humor is the ability to laugh at yourself. It’s a leadership quality that shows you accept your flaws and your foolishness, your idiosyncrasies and imperfections.” Likewise, Victor Borge famously said that “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” They’re both right! When we’re having fun, we stop perseverating over what we did or didn’t say or get done today. When we share laughs, we rise above our differences and connect in the moment. The Dalai Lama likes to call himself a “professional laugher” and says his wish is “to see more smiles, real smiles. [And] if we want those smiles, we must create the reasons that make them appear!”

With that in mind, here are a few ideas to help turn up the Light in your day:

  • Read something funny (because we’re never too old to appreciate Peanuts, Garfield, or The Onion, are we?)
  • When you’re choosing movies or series to watch, go for more comedy and uplifting themes, vs. only violent or dark-themed shows. Many stand-up comedians have great specials worth checking into as well.
  • Listen to uplifting music–and while you’re at it, put on your dancing shoes!
  • Pay attention to the energy of those around you. If someone is consistently a “Debbie Downer,” rethink your relationship with them and the time you’re willing to offer it.
  • Do something FUN! Plan an adventure with the sole goal of creating more happiness and laughter.

Seeking out humor and laughter has health benefits, too. Studies published by the Mayo Clinic have shown that having a good laugh stimulates the heart and lungs and increases feel-good endorphins in the brain. Regular laughter can fortify the immune system and decrease anxiety and depression. In fact, a separate study at Loma Linda University found that laughing reduced stress hormones by up to 70% in participants (Berk et al., 2006).

So this week, find more ways to increase the joy in your life! You don’t need to be stopped at an airport security line to find the humor in life’s little setbacks and annoyances. Learn to embrace both the ridiculous and the miraculous here, there, and everywhere. Because the next level of your growth–and the opportunity to bring more blessings and more Light into your life–is always just a smile or a laugh away!


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Comments

  1. Marlene Tovar : March 7, 2023 at 9:44 pm

    As usual You make feek anew
    Thank You Mónica
    Jag Purim Sameaj😍😆😄🍬

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