Laughter is good medicine and has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, strengthen the immune system and reduce pain (https://www.Helpguide.org). Solomon confirmed this in Proverbs and described the opposite of joy as a crushed spirit which dries up the bones. We can say that the opposite of joy is grief and sorrow.
Grief is a legitimate response to loss and hurt and it is a healthy human response. Grief should not be avoided and people need support and positive human connections to respond to grief. People don’t need to be told to, “be strong, look at the bright side or it could be worst.” People experiencing grief need genuine empathy, a listening ear and a response that says, “I may not understand but I am here to listen. Please let me know what I can do to help.” People need time to grieve and only the person experiencing the grief and loss can determine how long they need.
Outside of people who are genuinely experiencing grief are people with “Martha type” personalities. Some people consider themselves pessimists and see the glass half empty rather than half full. You can often guess that a call or text message from some people will be to share some bad news. There is a genuine need for authentic relationships that offer mutual support and friendships where we can share difficulties. We have to ensure that these relationships are well unbalanced.
Consider before you press forward if that message will increase the other person’s stress levels or send them some joy. Do you share inspirational and encouraging messages as well? How do you leave people feeling after your conversations and encounters with them?
Most relationships are not 50/50 and some people are naturally more optimistic and resilient than others. Nevertheless, we have to be considerate and intentional. We need to try when we can to spread some joy and gladness to others. Become a carrier of the grace, peace and joy that comes from walking in relationship with Christ Jesus. This will encourage people to seek after God in order to experience the fruits that come from our relationship with him.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22).