Laughter is the best medicineby Penelope Starr on Jul. 20, 2009, under Arts
My friend Denise owns an apartment building in Phoenix and has had a terrible time in this economy finding tenants. Finally she was able to get all the units filled and she thought her troubles were over. But soon she realized that she was housing the Tenants from Hell.
From toxic plumbing problems to toxic text messages, Denise has had her share of troubles. And the way that she copes with all the stress is by entertaining her friends with hilarious renditions of her woes. It helps that she has a degree in creative writing so she’s trained in using words, but much more importantly, she’s using her abundant sense of humor to get her though a tough time.
As one of the story listeners I can empathize with her pain while getting a few giggles and, after a while, we’ll be able to say “remember when . . . ” and laugh all over again.
The Healing Story Alliance of the National Storytelling Network explores and promotes the use of storytelling in therapy and health care. They say that by telling our stories we can organize a seemingly random and painful event into a comprehensible whole, giving it some meaning in our lives. Adding humor makes it so much easier to digest and share.
Just google “laughter is the best medicine” and you’ll come up with a myriad of physical benefits of laughing including lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, relief from depression and less pain.
This month’s Ode (the magazine for intelligent optimists) is all about laughter, how belly laughs and grins can improve our lives. A striking example is the organization called Clowns Without Borders, a group that brings “levity, contemporary clown/circus oriented performances and workshops into communities so that they can celebrate together and forget for a moment the tensions that darken their daily lives”.
I once got a fortune in a cookie that said “lighten up, you control the gravity on the planet”. I took it very seriously.