The Power of Laughter - Part One
A Guide to Joyful Living in Your 40s and Beyond
“Your body cannot heal without play. Your mind cannot heal without laughter. Your soul cannot heal without joy." - Catherine Rippenger Fenwick
Take the metro or public bus in any city and you will see a sea of faces all dealing with the monotony of life. Why is it that some of these people seem to cope better than others? Could it be that they have found the secret to dealing with life’s challenges without the use of pills and potions?
In the following two posts, we will unlock the profound healing potential of laughter and help bring tranquility to your soul.
In midlife, life throws challenges our way, and the weight of responsibilities makes everything seem arduous. Negativity becomes the reigning force. But what if, in the midst of chaos, we could pause and just laugh? Imagine how many crises could be averted.
Did you know that, on average, a child laughs about a hundred times a day, while an adult manages less than ten laughs?
Emotions can take a toll. Frustration in a traffic jam, annoyance towards the milk thief who hijacked your morning coffee creamer, or the heartbreak of a departing partner—negative emotions can dominate thoughts. Yet, it's crucial to realize that the impact is on you alone.
The driver who cut you off is long gone; the milk thief, a mere blip in your daily life; and as for your ex-partner, their journey diverges from yours. What if, instead of dwelling on negativity, you replace it with a hearty chuckle? Try being angry while laughing—it's an impossible feat.
Life's unpredictability is a given, but how you choose to face it is within your control. You are 100 percent responsible for your reactions to life's twists and turns.
Entering the middle years doesn't exempt you from this responsibility. If anything, it emphasizes the understanding that you are the master of your responses. Now is the time to wield that power consistently.
With your vibrant imagination, envision the road hog as a character in yellow-spotted pink Lycra tights with the most outrageous hairstyle. Turn the milk thief into a comical figure. Shower your ex-partner with love for steering your life in a new direction.
Make laughter the cornerstone of your daily actions. Laugh sensibly and selfishly. It's your life—choose happiness. Always.
Laugh Lines Over Wrinkle Creams
Embracing the natural changes in a woman's body during middle age can be a challenge: the waning fertility, the emergence of wrinkles, the silver strands mingling with the natural hue, and the occasional aches, and twinges. The list seems never-ending.
In the pursuit of defying these changes, many midlife women embark on a quest to the local supermarket or delve into online shopping, seeking the elusive magic in wrinkle creams. A fortune is spent on toners, masks, makeup, and false eyelashes—a billion-dollar industry. Advertisements tantalize with promises that superficial potions can miraculously transform everything.
However, the most potent elixir for retaining a youthful and healthy appearance resides within. Laughter, the overlooked remedy, engages a whopping ninety muscles in the face each time it graces your lips. Instead of concealing behind layers of makeup, just adorn yourself with a genuine smile.
Contrary to common belief, it's not internal happiness that molds the way facial muscles are used; it's the other way around. Stand before the mirror in the morning and exercise those facial muscles—it's the Secret to Sensibly Selfish eternal beauty!"
Aimee's Laughter Renaissance
“There was a time when even I, like many others, forgot how to laugh. The wake-up call came from an unexpected source—my youngest son, storming out of the house one morning for school, delivered a sharp rebuke: "You're not fun anymore, you just shout all the time, I hate you!"
My initial reaction was defensive. How dare he, I thought. If only he understood the complexities of my life, he would share my sadness and anger. It was high time he matured and took on more responsibilities; then, perhaps, he would comprehend.
But in that moment, I recalled the wisdom of Byron Katie from her book 'Loving What Is.'
- Is it true?
- Do you know it's 100 percent true?
- How do I react when I have that thought? Who would I be without that thought?
- Turn it around
Realizing that I couldn't assert it was 100 percent true, I confronted the truth about my own emotional state. Unbeknownst to me, I had become mired in anger and despair.
It was time for a turnaround, a return to laughter. I could indulge in my moments of sorrow privately if needed, but what I truly needed was a catalyst to break the ice.
Fortuitously, my oldest son possessed a remarkable gift—laughter so infectious it could lift any mood. I sought his help. That evening, we found ourselves rolling on the floor, clutching our sides, tears streaming down our faces. I expressed gratitude to both of my sons and asked for their continued support in case I veered off course again. The gift of laughter, I discovered, is indeed precious beyond measure."
The Contagious Joy of Laughter
Ever observed how laughter effortlessly spreads like wildfire? What does it feel like to illuminate someone else's face with the glow of mirth? And more intriguingly, what holds you back?
Laughter, a language of its own, transcends linguistic and cultural boundaries. Its infectious nature is so potent that if each person dedicated a little more time to laughter, the contagion would sweep through the entire world every single day!
Consider the transformative power of laughter. Could it be yours to unleash?
Esther's Transformation Through Laughter
"I stopped looking in the mirror – I detested the reflection staring back at me. The weight gain, the new wrinkles, and the strands of grey hair seemed to accentuate the bags under my eyes. The decision to not have children haunted me, and now I mourned the absence of my monthly menstruation!
Every day felt like a never-ending cycle of monotony. I was akin to the winter weather – cold and miserable. It was as if I had fast-forwarded from my prime into old age, bypassing the thirty years in between. All I saw was a long, dark tunnel with no glimmer of light at the end. My gaze was fixed on my toes; I never looked up at the sky. Leaving the house became a dreaded thought.
A visit to the doctor didn't provide solace – soon, I found myself dependent on antidepressants. A chemical imbalance, he had said, nothing unusual given the circumstances. I felt I had nothing to live for.
Concerned, a family friend urged me to accompany them to a 'laughter clinic.' It was the last thing I wanted, and I sat in the corner with my arms folded, defiant.
An hour passed, and a sudden urge overwhelmed me to join in. I realized it had been ages since I genuinely laughed. I had forgotten the different types of laughter – the ah, ah, ah, the oh, oh, oh, the eh, eh, eh, or the hi, hi, hi followed by the pig snort!
Later, with red eyes and aching stomach muscles, I felt remarkably better. For the first time in months, I was thoroughly exhausted. It marked a turning point in my life.
Each subsequent session flooded me with feel-good endorphins, leading to improved self-esteem, weight loss, and an acceptance of myself as I am. I learned that even changing the way I held my body could create a sense of happiness or summon back the 'black dog,' so I held my head high each day.
Every morning, as I look in the mirror, I greet the person staring back at me. We share a hearty laugh together. I express gratitude to the woman in front of me before stepping out to embrace the world."
What have you laughed at today? Why not share your thoughts in the comments below or join our Facebook page?