Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Humor Therapy

The upside of a prolonged elder care season is that you have your mother and/or father with you longer. Although you love your parent(s) and the joy of their company, you also become aware of a dark cloak of sadness draping over your shoulders—and you can’t shrug it off. Even when you take a small or large vacation from elder care activities, that cloak weighs on you. This season is rough on our parents, too, as they grieve their losses. We all need intentional humor therapy!

I carry with me the September 2012 issue of Reader’s Digest, which contains (and here I quote from the cover) 128 hilarious jokes, extra cartoons, and best lines by Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Joan Rivers, Conan O’Brien, and more. Sometimes I read the jokes to myself and sometimes with my mother. If I pick fairly simple quips, I can sometimes induce a smile from my dad. I also haunt the comedy sections of my local libraries’ DVD departments. Every few weeks, I just have to watch a comedy movie. And at least once a week, I Google “funny YouTubes” or names of comedians I especially like. I would laugh listening to Steve Martin, Jim Carrey, or Jimmy Fallon reading the phone book, and I’ve seen some of their silly YouTubes again and again, and I still laugh.

The power of laughter to help heal, manage stress, and energize is gaining traction through scientific research. Here is a link to a WebMD article outlining laughter’s benefits: http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter

What do you do to laugh yourself silly?

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