Recently an article was released from the Maryland Medical Center that talked about the medical benefits from laughing and happiness. A 2005 article in “Psychology Today” cited this research, saying, “all the health benefits of laughter may simply result from the social support that laughter stimulates. Now comes hard new evidence that laughter helps your blood vessels function better. It acts on the inner lining of blood vessels, called the endothelium.” This merely confirms what the Bible has already said when Proverbs 17:22 says “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
Solomon says that having a merry heart is good for a person. So good, in fact, that it acts as a medicine. The word translated “merry” here is the word translated in other place “rejoice.” It is a happiness despite one’s circumstances. Someone who can rejoice in what God has given them will do good for themselves physically.
On the other hand, says Solomon, “a broken spirit drieth the bones.” The phrase “broken spirit” sometimes means someone who is contrite, but here it refers to someone who is sorrowful or wounded. Not only does sorrow damage someone emotionally, but those emotions spill over to harm physically as well. In the Old Testament, “bones” referred to one’s general well-being. Solomon says that someone who sorrows over life will dry up his health.
I am not suggesting, as those medical researchers do, that you go rent a funny movie or go to a comedy club to get healthier. Those may help in the short term, but God says that a greater source of joy is Himself. He says in Nehemiah 8:10 “the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Find your joy in the Lord Jesus; let Him take your sorrow and burdens. One of the ways that I have found the most joy is in knowing that Jesus has made a way for me to have peace with God (Romans 5:1). That peace gives me the joy I need, and makes me healthier, too. Jesus can cure both your physical body and your spirit as well.