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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Smi­ling, laug­hing, or ri­di­cu­lous?

Vieraskieliset / In-english
1.6.2017 6.27

Juttua muokattu:

1.1. 11:15

Smile is a pre­lu­de to laugh­ter, and real laugh­ter co­mes from the depths of the bel­ly. If my laugh­ter is con­ta­gi­ous, I feel I am ma­king the ot­hers laugh, but if the ot­hers do not un­ders­tand why I am laug­hing, I feel ri­di­cu­lous. The words in the tit­le re­fer to dif­fe­rent re­ac­ti­ons, and the last of them does not feel good.

We used to le­arn that ani­mals can­not smile, let alo­ne laugh. We were al­so taught that ani­mals’ be­ha­vi­or is cont­rol­led by their ins­tincts and dri­ves. Mo­dern re­se­arc­hers to­tal­ly di­sag­ree with this. They say that ani­mals’ be­ha­vi­or is lar­ge­ly cont­rol­led by fee­lings and le­ar­ning. Ani­mals smile and even laugh, which is ref­lec­ted in their ey­es and body lan­gu­a­ge. These are al­so the most im­por­tant me­ans of com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on bet­ween hu­mans.

A baby can cry right af­ter birth, but can it al­so smile? Ref­lex smi­les of­ten flic­ker on the face of a new­born baby. If, while you are chan­ging the di­a­per of a four-week- old baby, you look in­to his ey­es and smile, you may see the baby’s first tooth­less smile! And if, while hol­ding a baby who is 4-5 months old, you bring his face close to yo­urs, laugh, and say ”boo”, you will hear a soft gurg­ling sound that seems to come from deep down in­si­de him. The baby is laug­hing! That laugh­ter is truly con­ta­gi­ous!

Af­ter the first time the baby laughs, it ta­kes about two or three ye­ars un­til he be­gins to laugh at fun­ny words or things – or fun­ny pe­op­le or in­ci­dents. This is ge­nui­ne­ly po­si­ti­ve laugh­ter that does not of­fend any­bo­dy.

Around ten ye­ars of age the child be­gins to le­arn em­pat­hy, which pre­vents him from laug­hing at ot­her pe­op­le for any re­a­son wha­te­ver. He be­gins to un­ders­tand that laugh­ter may ea­si­ly turn in­to ri­di­cu­le and wound the ot­her per­son. This helps him al­so to see him­self in a dif­fe­rent light, and he be­gins to de­ve­lop an abi­li­ty to laugh at him­self and to use him­self pur­po­se­ly to make ot­hers laugh. Af­ter that, he may so­me­ti­mes need to pon­der at which point his own be­ha­vi­or ac­tu­al­ly turns from fun­ny to ri­di­cu­lous.

The pro­cess of gro­wing up ma­kes pe­op­le more se­ri­ous. Re­se­arch has shown that child­ren laugh 125 ti­mes a day, of­ten with no spe­ci­al re­a­son. Adults laugh on­ly 15 ti­mes a day, and they need a re­a­son to laugh – ot­her­wi­se they are la­bel­led as foo­lish.

It is good to smile and laugh, even if some pe­op­le may con­si­der it ri­di­cu­lous. Ac­cor­ding to re­se­arch, smi­ling and laug­hing al­le­vi­a­te stress and an­xie­ty, make the per­son kind and at­t­rac­ti­ve, give an imp­res­si­on of re­li­a­bi­li­ty, and make the per­son a bet­ter le­a­der. Smi­ling and laug­hing awa­ken the per­son’s cre­a­ti­ve po­wers and imp­ro­ve he­alth. They boost brain func­ti­on, strengt­hen the body star­ting at the cel­lu­lar le­vel, and imp­ro­ve im­mu­ni­ty. Laug­hing al­so strengt­hens the sto­mach musc­les. Mo­re­o­ver, smi­ling and laug­hing are use­ful for ot­hers. It has been found that even an ar­ti­fi­ci­al smile ma­kes pe­op­le hap­py. Yet, we should not hide our ne­ga­ti­ve fee­lings un­der an ar­ti­fi­ci­al smile or laugh­ter.

I know from per­so­nal ex­pe­rien­ce that smi­ling and laug­hing make a per­son seem yo­un­ger. I on­ce met a lady who was ol­der than me. She as­ked me if I re­mem­be­red her. I didn’t, but when she laug­hed, my me­mo­ry chan­nels ope­ned. I exc­lai­med: “An­na-Lii­sa, how good to see you!” I had last seen her when I was a child.

She came in­to our home a coup­le of ti­mes to help when our mot­her was in hos­pi­tal or so­mew­he­re. I re­mem­be­red her kind and com­for­ting smile from more than fif­ty ye­ars back.

Many por­ti­ons of the Bib­le speak about joy. On the first Christ­mas night the an­gels brought to the shep­herds the jo­yous news of the Sa­vi­or’s birth. The dis­cip­les were over­co­me by joy when they saw their re­sur­rec­ted Mas­ter. When God gave a son to old Ab­ra­ham and Sa­rah, Sa­rah felt joy: “God has brought me laugh­ter, and eve­ry­o­ne who he­ars about this will laugh with me.” (Gen. 21:6).

Smi­ling and laugh­ter ra­di­a­te joy. But I think they are not the on­ly ways to exp­ress joy, not even the most com­mon ones.

Ge­nui­ne joy ari­ses from the he­art as gra­ti­tu­de. And the gre­a­test cau­se for gra­ti­tu­de is per­so­nal faith.

Text: Erk­ki Ala­saa­re­la

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

You will find the ori­gi­nal Fin­nish blog post here.


Her­ra on mi­nun va­lo­ni ja apu­ni, ketä minä pel­käi­sin? Her­ra on mi­nun elä­mä­ni tur­va, ketä siis säik­kyi­sin? Ps. 27:1

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