When Laughter Heals


While visiting mother at the Nursing Home in N.W. Calgary we were having a conversation and I was fixing her hair and placing a colorful barrette in it. Mom hadn’t laughed at anything in a long time so we were both almost a pair of old sourpusses. Lately I seemed to be matching her frame of mind.

Mom was watching as I put the barrette in her hair and she commented on her wrinkles which actually are few for someone in her 90”s.

“Wrinkles!”, I said, and spontaneous laughter erupted, “Surely we are not going to start worrying about wrinkles!”

Immediately she too was laughing.

This was a foreign sound to both of us and I do not know what her thoughts were about that laughter, that superb burst of happiness, but mine, well mine have not stopped since that incident!

Laughter does some amazing things to us and I think we need to constantly remind one another of this fact.

If we actually laugh even when we do not feel a desire to do so, it wakes up something deep within us, and our very organs respond, enjoying the massage they receive with this process. Yes, I am saying even a phony laugh can put us in a good mood and help our organs in the process!

Personally I feel our soul gets out right perky with every laugh!

And with a laugh, there is some type of nozzle or goofy button that automatically releases the stress within us!

Okay I don’t know the name of the process. But I do know that laughter releases stress!

There is a release of the endorphins. Now we all know that these are chemicals that not only relieve pain but just make us feel down right good all over!.

And I do know that our very health and immune system is bolstered through a good giggle session or due to the laughter after hearing two very silly jokes. Laughter affects our respiration. Suddenly more oxygen circulates through the body, so our lung capacity is uplifted and/or improved! Running or brisk walking would do this too!

I have also read articles by doctors and scientists commenting on laughter and how it prevents heart disease.

In fact one man used laughter therapy to repair his heart!

When we laugh, people around us are inclined to follow suit. So our laughter may be just the prescription needed for someone who feels lost and lonely! We are quite able to spread flu and colds but have we considered how very infectious laughter can be? And have we considered that we have the ability to spread it around?

As I think about this I can hardly wait to get back and visit mother. Let me see, what are the ways I can get her to laugh?

I felt so close to mother when we laughed together last week. This suggests to me that mother may have felt closer to me too.

Can laughter bind us together? We were sharing an intimate moment. No one else was in on the joke.

It was ours and it was goofily, beautifully, wonderful.

Now that I replay those moments, I also felt lighter, a bit more energetic. Everything just felt plain good!

So I am looking forward to another visit. I guess I should add therefore that laughter gives us hope!

I am inspired and hopeful for a wonderful visit!

Next time I feel out of sorts and I comment that I feel dragged down because of a visit to see mom, someone please send me these notes right back to me. I’ll laugh, feel better and be ready to tackle the world and all its problems.

Ellie Braun-Haley [email protected] 

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