Laughter is the best medicine. Cliché but true.
Recovery is a serious time with a bundle of deep emotions rising to the surface. You’re probably dealing with anxiety or depression or both. You’re figuring out your negative beliefs and where they came from. You’re struggling and stumbling just to get through the day. And it may seem like there’s nothing to laugh about.
Oh but there is. There always is.
If you’ve ever been to a funeral where, despite the grief, the family is able to laugh over fond memories of the deceased, then you know, there is always a way to find laughter in even the darkest of times.
However, learning to laugh in difficult and painful times can be just as difficult to learn as tempering rage or calming anxiety. But it’s a lesson well learned because it can help get you through the negative and difficult emotions.
Until you’re able to naturally find the funny in trials and tribulations, though, you may need some help. So pick out some of your funniest TV shows, podcasts, authors and comedians and have a list of where to turn when you need a good laugh.
My list of TV shows that will always make me laugh, or at the very least won’t make me cry, is: Friends, I Love Lucy and The Big Bang Theory. When I want to get out of the house and lift my spirits I listen to the NPR show Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me as I take a walk. And, of course, I seek out anything stand-up comedy on Netflix.
Recently, though, if I need a good laugh I turn to a picture we have of our three boys riding a roller coaster. My two step-sons have their arms in the air, wide smiles and are clearly having the time of their life. My little one is white knuckling the seat in front of him with a petrified look of terror on his face. It is so reminiscent of the exact same face I make when forced onto a roller coaster, I can’t help it, I end up laughing so hard I cry. I don’t need to see the physical picture either. I can just imagine it and I’ll bust out in laughter. And, yes, I’ve done this while out in public alone. People can think I’m crazy all they want, it works every time like a charm.
I had to force myself to find the funny for years, but in the past two I’ve noticed that laughing through aggravation and frustration and even pain has become much more natural and something I just do. I used to get so upset at my son’s tantrums and his attitude, or when my husband would make sarcastic comments, or when I was clumsy and dropped yet something else on the ground. And now, I just laugh my way through it. As a result, my bad moods move along quicker and we get to enjoy life together much more than ever before.
So laughter isn’t only the best medicine for you, it can be therapeutic for the entire family. It may take time. It may be forced at first. But whenever you can, find the funny and learn to laugh. It really does help.