The Best Medicine

By Helene Cooper, LCSW-C

Oh Laughter, how I’ve missed you! I miss the chuckles, the giggles, the belly laughs most of all. I loved when laughter was part of my daily life, when laughter was whole-hearted and contagious, laughing out loud with friends. I miss the smiles and silly grins now hidden under masks. I don’t like trying to guess if smiles are there, trying to figure out what eyes convey. Laughter, you have been elusive this past year. I need you. We all need you.

We read articles and self-help books trying to find ways to care for ourselves while caring for the people we love that need us. We try to eat for health, get some exercise, meditate, and self-soothe. But Laughter, you are the medicine we need to truly regain balance in our lives. You add joy to life, ease anxiety and tension, build optimism, promote connection and bonding with others, and help us make the most of our natural resilience.

Missing laughter, I’ve had to get creative exploring options to bring it back into my life and I’m glad to report I’ve had some success! Sometimes I can find it in my contact with others, sometimes on the Internet through YouTube or social media. Sometimes I need to just be silly and remind myself that children laugh hundreds of times a day, while adults go days without laughing at all it. Let’s all try to emulate children and enjoy being child-like whenever we can.

Here are some ideas to help you find our old friend Laughter, finding what makes you laugh, and how to create laughter for yourself.

  • YouTube and streaming. Watch old and new movies, classic screwball comedies, romantic comedies, or slapstick craziness like the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges. Revisit old Saturday Night Live episodes from the early days. Watch stand-up routines from old Late-Night TV, including Robin Williams, George Carlin, or Stephen Wright, or anyone you used to enjoy.
  • Create a Zoom meeting with friends where everyone brings jokes to share. There are many good jokes on the Internet or in humor books.
  • Share cartoons and funny memes on social media, and then call your friends to laugh about them together.
  • Practice being silly. Put on music and dance around your living room. Goof around with kids, either in person or on Zoom. Enjoy playing with your pets, they can be an endless source of amusement and laughter.

Whatever you try, it will be worth it. Try to find something to laugh about every day. Consider this blog as a prescription, and if you take your medicine, you will rekindle your joy. Then you can pass it on!

Helene Cooper, LCSW-C is a Clinical Therapist at Jewish Community Services

JCS is a comprehensive human services organization providing a broad range of services that meet the diverse, multi-dimensional needs of individuals and families throughout Central Maryland. To learn more, visit jcsbalt.org or call 410-466-9200.

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