I am a fan of Loretta LaRoche. Recently she wrote a piece on laughter. She noted that laughter has many mental and physical benefits, and that it has gotten her through health issues. I agree whole-heartedly.
I've spent a good deal of time in the hospital and doctors' offices throughout my life due to spina bifida. I've relied on laughter to get me through some tough spots. I've found that, although hospital stays, surgeries, and doctors' visits can be frustrating and frightening, I can always find something to laugh about. Whether it's mistaking a cervix for a hemorrhoid, a roommate having a facelift in order to look good for Bingo, or a surprisingly funny remark from a doctor, they take the edge off very uncomfortable circumstances. It helps to laugh through struggles.
I was particularly taken off guard by a beloved doctor who was quite conservative. I was at his office for a pre-surgery physical. When he walked in, he said, "So, are you scared poopless?" I never thought I'd hear him say something like that. After I picked my chin off the floor, I started laughing. And, I remembered his remark throughout the whole process of blood work, pre-op, post-op, and recovery. Every time I thought of it, I laughed. And I recovered quite fast despite it being quite a major surgery. Another of my doctor's told me later that his doing that surgery was a gutsy move. But he did it for me; to improve my quality of life, and he helped me through it by making me laugh. A top notch doctor with a heart of gold, and a sense of humor I had never seen until it was really needed. Kudos to him, and all the other doctors out there who drop their guard a bit to show their human sides in order to help their patients through difficult situations. I think it helps more than all the medication and surgeries just to know that the doctor truly cares about me. It boosts my spirits when they drop their guard and helps me have more confidence in them. And, I believe my confidence in them helps them do what needs to be done to help me. It's a two-way street.
Okay, so the next time you are heading to surgery, or you're facing some other difficult situation, I want you to dig deep inside and find something funny about it. Purposely look for anything--big or small--that could be considered comical about the current fix you've found yourself in. Can't possibly find anything amusing about such a scary, frustrating or just plain stupid circumstance? Then fake it! That still provides benefits. Force yourself to giggle. Try it. Just a little bit at first. Then increase it over time, finding any excuse to giggle. Go for it--for health!
Now I'd like to hear how laughter has helped you through tough situations, medical or otherwise. Post comments below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can't wait to read how you've benefited from laughter.
Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much,