Midlife Laughter - Part 2
Elevate Your Spirit, Transform Your Life
“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face”. - Victor Hugo
Who Do You Share Laughter With?
Have you ever found yourself chuckling at the misfortunes of others? Does this revelation surprise you? And how does it feel when the tables are turned, and laughter is directed at you?
Laughter contributes to your well-being as we read in part one. However, when directed at yourself, it goes beyond building physical health; it nurtures a relationship with the person who greets you in the mirror each day. You can smile at your strengths and share a laugh at your weaknesses; after all, everyone has them in some form. This self-acceptance lays the foundation for heightened self-esteem, forging a connection between the thoughts in your mind and the realities of the outer world.
Conversely, when your laughter is aimed at others, it takes on a destructive quality. Laughing at someone else can be perilous, to say the least! While comedians may jest on stage, protected by bodyguards, you don't enjoy the same privilege. It's not just the physical pain that concerns me, but the emotional toll (though you might see it differently!).
Beyond being potentially hurtful to the other person, it can backfire on you, manifesting in emotional sabotage. I'm not necessarily referring to physical violence; rather, the harm lies in the emotional impact, which is equally detrimental.
Laughing at others has a profound effect on how you perceive yourself, initiating an emotional downward spiral. It's akin to the destructive nature of gossip – it reveals more about the one laughing than the person being laughed at.
On the contrary, sharing laughter with someone is a beautiful experience, and I insist upon it. You can start right now. Grab anybody around you and begin laughing – life has never been so good!"
Extreme Laughter in the Face of Pain
'How can I laugh when the pain is too much?' How can one find humor when grappling with the fresh loss of a loved one? Is it possible to be Sensibly Selfish during such trying times?
The key lies in embracing short bursts of extreme laughter.
Picture yourself stranded on a mountain ledge with no apparent way down – in such a predicament, there are two choices: panic or laugh. Opting for panic is a sure way to attract disaster.
Laughter, on the other hand, acts as a release valve for tension, offering a different perspective for the mind to engage. Let me clarify; we're not advocating for hysterical laughter. What's needed is a good, hearty, and normal belly laugh.
At that moment, you might recall the emergency satellite navigation signal sealed in your coat, awaiting activation. Or perhaps, your now-clear mind spots a small crevice right in front of you.
Not many women in midlife have found themselves stuck on mountainsides thankfully, yet we have all faced perilous situations. Many women have had to navigate the challenging terrain of grieving a loved one.
A Sensibly Selfish Secret emerges: taking a brief respite from the grieving process. A short, sharp laugh provides a small space to refocus on what truly matters. Whether it's watching a funny movie or spending time in the company of others, indulge in anything that allows your mind a fleeting moment of clarity.
A Key to a Longer Life
As you reflect on the day, a broken nail or a burnt meal may seem inconsequential in the grand scheme of your life, and yet, it holds significance.
Consider the lengthy catalog of minor annoyances that diverted your attention from your true self and unique life purpose today. Now, add up the time taken away from your already limited lifespan.
If you multiply this by the number of years you've spent on this earth, what do you see? How does it make you feel? What words of wisdom can you hear your best friend sharing with you?
In the battle between laughter and anger, which emerges victorious? What changes can you make right now? A genuine, hearty laugh is as good as it gets! Don't let it go to waste."
Reflecting in Laughter's Mirror
Consider the messages you convey to those around you when laughter is absent from your life. What reflections do they capture from you? What kind of spiral are you unintentionally weaving within your family dynamics?
Your consistent criticism, sarcasm, temper tantrums, anger, and fear are easily mirrored by those closest to your heart. In the absence of laughter, this becomes a downward spiral, a cycle waiting for someone to break.
The power to change this trajectory lies within you. The only person you have control over changing is yourself.
We are architects of the future for our children and their children. Often, we pass down beliefs and values from one generation to the next. When you embrace change, they follow suit—be proud of the positive influence you can offer. Share laughter together, long and often.
Judy's Journey to Laughter
For years, laughter eluded me. I couldn't recall the last time I had truly let loose and enjoyed myself. The past decade felt like my life was suspended in limbo.
Having my children in my late thirties meant they were now entering adulthood, while my parents, in a cruel reversal, were reverting to a childlike state. I felt trapped, and the joy had drained from my life.
The responsibilities of caring for aging parents, a task I never anticipated would be so demanding, took its toll. Time for laughter seemed like a luxury I couldn't afford.
Anticipating an empty nest when my kids left home, I found myself disillusioned when it didn't materialize. Even when help was offered, I clung to the role of a martyr, unable to break free from my daily burdens and embrace joy.
As my dad's Alzheimer's progressed, I reluctantly placed him in a care home – one of the most challenging decisions of my life. Visits with Mum became emotionally draining for both of us.
Guilt set in when Dad passed away, and I blamed myself for everything that transpired. I acknowledged I was not pleasant to be around, yet breaking free from that pattern seemed impossible.
It wasn't until my Mum's passing that I could grieve and gradually lighten my emotional burden. I began to find pleasure in simple things again: sunlight filtering through the curtains, the aroma of warm bread, even the sound of a car horn.
The biggest shock came when I realized the profound impact I had on those I loved. They appeared distant, angry, and sad most of the time. Horror struck as I recognized the influence I had on their future thoughts and actions.
The realization of potentially shaping my old age into a time of guilt, sadness, and burden hit hard. Unable to turn back time, I acknowledge my mistakes and understand that I acted the only way I knew.
Late-night conversations with my children about their grandparents' last years have been therapeutic. I've conveyed my wishes for my old age, hoping they choose a different path. Life's hardships don't negate the possibility of laughter.
So, I ask, what is stopping you from laughing?
Choose Positive Company and Media
Ever spent an entire day with someone negative? How did it make you feel? Drained of energy, perhaps? Remember, behavior is contagious; being around negativity invites the same consequences. Opt for the company of positive individuals who find joy in life, regardless of its challenges—they are the ones who keep smiling through it all!
Steer Clear of Negative Media
Take a moment to reflect on your experience with the media. Does it uplift your spirits or bring you down?
Negative news, often sensationalized, may sell newspapers, but it doesn't sell you a good life. Instead, it infiltrates your subconscious mind, painting a dark and gloomy picture of the world you inhabit.
Consciously avoid 'The News,' a decision that will keep you sane and save time. You can stay informed about global events when they matter—when it's important because everyone will be talking about it!
Utilize the time saved to foster harmony in your life. Learn a new skill, spend quality time with loved ones, or contribute to a charitable cause. Make someone else's day a positive one.
Remember, you are your own temple; cherish it. Create your media consumption in a way that brings smiles to everyone's faces!"
Eliminate Negative Self-Talk
Now that you've distanced yourself from negative friends and curtailed TV time, you might be wondering what's next. It's time to embark on a journey of self-improvement — focused on YOU!
Every word and action you undertake becomes information for your brain. When you seek confirmation, your brain diligently searches its files. Each piece of information, whether positive or negative, is stored for future use.
Think of your mind as a computer; whatever you input is what gets stored. If, in the past, you've entertained thoughts like 'I'm fat, unhappy, over the hill, or broke,' those thoughts are logged, awaiting retrieval. When you utter those words again, your subconscious mind retrieves that file, confirming its veracity.
The key is to fill your mental files with positive thoughts. By doing so, your brain will naturally share positivity with you. It's a lifelong task, but the effort is well worth it – an investment in discovering your true worth. Surprisingly, you'll find yourself laughing more effortlessly!
Laugh Your Way to a Joyful Life
We all have our share of challenging days; it's part of the human experience. So, what prevents you from succumbing to the grumpiness that sometimes accompanies middle age?
Take a deliberate and introspective look at the elements in your life that bring you happiness. Compile a top ten list and keep it within arm's reach. Whether it's a cherished photograph in your purse, a favorite song on repeat, or a treasured memory, let these reminders stay close.
When the weight of bad days threatens to overshadow the good, pull out that list. The scale must always tip in favor of the good days. A solemn disposition breeds a tense mind and a stiff body, a recipe for illness.
A rigid body increases the likelihood of falling ill. To maintain good health, laughter must be woven into your daily routine. Its healing powers should never be underestimated.
Why not share your own thoughts and experiences in the comments below or join us the the private Facebook group?