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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Because Laughter is Therapeutic

Today, in the course of one hour, I heard about two serious medical diagnoses given to people I know. Lately I’ve been all wrapped up in my Wacky Wednesday costume ideas, but the news of these diagnoses really brought me back to earth. Part of me sometimes feels a little too self-indulgent, spending time each week creating fun costumes. Are there more important causes I could involve myself with each week? I’m sure there are many. The two diagnoses I learned about added to my questions about whether I can justify the time I spend on these creations. I’m taking to my blog to try to figure it out.

I volunteer every week, so it’s not as though all my time is spent on selfish matters. And as a mom of young kids, I do need parts of my life that aren’t directly about my kids. It keeps me at least semi-balanced. That is a lesson that took a long time to sink in, because there’s always a million things that need doing when your kids are young. Could I justify doing a “me” thing, when kids need so much of my help, time and energy?

Who knows? It’s not like there’s a specific formula for things like this, as there is for things like tire pressure or blood pressure. What about combatting life pressure? Since there’s no equation available, I’m going to follow my instincts and keep doing what has brought me a lot of joy in recent months. I’m going to keep making my creations and sharing the fun.

I’m wondering whether to send Wacky Wednesday blogs to the friend my age who is dealing with a sobering diagnosis. Would it be disrespectful to send her notices of all my fun, when her summer is going to involve regular hospital visits? I hope not. I hope that she’d get a boost and a laugh from my wackiness. Am I simply justifying the time I spend on fun? Maybe. But I also know that people tell me that my wacky adventures brighten their day.

The second startling diagnosis I heard about involves a friend’s dad. My friend said that she was going to forward my wacky blog posts to her mom because her mom will need some laughs in the coming months. I felt so honored that my gusto may give people a laugh when they need it. A friend living out of state tells me that my wacky blogs give her a boost each week, and this means the world to me.

I’m not suggesting that laughter can replace medicine--I don’t believe that. But can it boost people’s spirits as well as their health? I think so. There’s even research that supports that. On a personal note, I can attest to this, too. For decades I’ve managed a chronic health condition. It’s not something I’ve talked about in this blog over the last six years. I am not my medical condition and I don’t want it to be what people remember most about me. But I’m mentioning it now because I know how stressful it can be to manage health challenges. And I take to the Internet for laughter therapy on a regular basis. Does watching a few minutes of Chris Rock or Ellen DeGeneres doing standup comedy actually change my medical situation? No. But it takes my stress level down a notch and then the pressures I feel are a little more manageable. So people, we’re going to laugh it out. Sometimes a good cry is an amazing tonic, too. Crying and laughing both get the stress out, at least for a while, and this helps make things less overwhelming. We all have challenges, whether it’s obvious to passersby or something not everyone can see. So let’s laugh. Laughter is a free gift and a balm. It make me happy to share my wacky humor with the world and I hope that it gives people a boost. So fasten your seat belts because there’s a lot more fun up ahead…

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