laughter

Not In Time

Posted on

Last week I mentioned that my step-father was on hospice and I was soon to be traveling to see him and my mother.  I was too late.  I will now and forever will refer to him as my father.  He was much, much more to me than just a father.

I am thankful to have had a week with them this past January.

They loved to camp as often as they could and they did camp right up to the end of this summer until his breathing made it impossible for one last camping trip they always had before the rain and snow.

His name is John, my father:

John

This is my mother, Ginger:

New Image

My father had an infectious laugh.  You know, the kind of laugh that makes you laugh no matter what the laughter is about.  He passed away on Tuesday night, in my mother’s arms as she was helping him into his wheelchair to get to the bathroom.  They were alone when this happened and trust me, it devastated my mother.  I am still going to Oregon on the 1st of November.  My mother needs me there, yet thankfully my aunt is with her now.  Her grief is beyond words.  They were married over 28 years and were best friends, true soul mates in every possible way.  Their love reminds me of the love I share with my husband.  I cannot imagine losing my husband and I cannot fathom the pain my mother is dealing with.

There are many stages of grief and each has its own time for every person.  No matter, the pain stays. It is not always so fresh and sharp, but it never goes away, that loss.  This blog is not about that.  Just a brief post about such pain, that I wasn’t in time to see him one last time, to feel his hug and hear his laughter, the deep pain of missing the one who is no longer with you and of being left behind.

I plan on writing a memoir of my father, in separate chapters.  With pictures.  It is a work coming.  And I will share it here.  It is a remarkable story, their love story, and how I met him before my mother did.  (I set the whole thing up!)  That first chapter will be titled, “The day I met my step-father, he gave me a 10.”

Love those you love fiercely today.  Do not put off what you do not have to.  For now, my concern is caring for my mother and staying close during this most difficult time of extreme grief.

0DAD9CE53333C57782F29546D22A5C1B

Is Laughter Really the very Best Medicine?

Posted on

 

Physical Health Benefits:

Mental Health Benefits:

  • Adds joy and zest to life
  • Eases anxiety and fear
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves mood
  • Enhances resilience
Social Benefits:

  • Strengthens relationships
  • Attracts others to us
  • Enhances teamwork
  • Helps defuse conflict
  • Promotes group bonding

The Health Benefits of Humor and Laughter

Humor is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use!

Laughter is strong medicine for mind and body

“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.”

~ Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.

Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.

With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health.

(My husband, Lee and I being flash-blinded by our friends camera phone during dinner last evening.)

Laughter is good for your health

  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

(This is my husband and I holding our eyes open as wide and long as we possibly can after being flash-blinded by a camera phone!)

Laughter and humor help you stay emotionally healthy

Laughter makes you feel good. And the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter subsides. Humor helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss.

More than just a respite from sadness and pain, laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh–or even simply a smile–can go a long way toward making you feel better. And laughter really is contagious—just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in the fun.

The link between laughter and mental health

The link between laughter and mental health

  • Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
  • Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
  • Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

(Our dear friends, Julie & Chris, dinner last evening.)

Bringing more humor and laughter into your life

Therapeutic Benefits of PetsWant to bring the fun? Get a pet…

Most of us have experienced the joy of playing with a furry friend, and pets are a rewarding way to bring more laughter and joy into your life. But did you know that having a pet is also good for your mental and physical health? Studies show that pets can protect you depression, stress, and even heart disease.

Laughter is your birthright, a natural part of life that is innate and inborn. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born. Even if you did not grow up in a household where laughter was a common sound, you can learn to laugh at any stage of life.

Begin by setting aside special times to seek out humor and laughter, as you might with working out, and build from there. Eventually, you’ll want to incorporate humor and laughter into the fabric of your life, finding it naturally in everything you do.

Here are some ways to start:

  • Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. Pioneers in “laugh therapy,” find it’s possible to laugh without even experiencing a funny event. The same holds for smiling. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling.
  • Count your blessings. Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When you’re in a state of sadness, you have further to travel to get to humor and laughter.
  • When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s funny?”
  • Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily–both at themselves and at life’s absurdities–and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.
  • Bring humor into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?”

Using humor and play to overcome challenges and enhance your life

The ability to laugh, play, and have fun with others not only makes life more enjoyable but also helps you solve problems, connect with others, and be more creative. People who incorporate humor and play into their daily lives find that it renews them and all of their relationships.

Life brings challenges that can either get the best of you or become playthings for your imagination. When you “become the problem” and take yourself too seriously, it can be hard to think outside the box and find new solutions. But when you play with the problem, you can often transform it into an opportunity for creative learning.

Playing with problems seems to come naturally to children. When they are confused or afraid, they make their problems into a game, giving them a sense of control and an opportunity to experiment with new solutions. Interacting with others in playful ways helps you retain this creative ability.

As laughter, humor, and play become an integrated part of your life, your creativity will flourish and new discoveries for playing with friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and loved ones will occur to you daily. Humor takes you to a higher place where you can view the world from a more relaxed, positive, creative, joyful, and balanced perspective.

Wishing you laughter throughout your week and may laughter be part of your choice to Keep Choosing Consistency,

Wendy

Reference

Laughter is the Best Medicine.  Retrieved  from http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm