As part of our UpBeat articles for people enjoy while they are homebound, Alberta Ervin, pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Maquoketa, shares some thoughts on why laughter is the best medicine. Enjoy!
I have always been told that I can find the positive in anything. I think that comes from spending time with a grandmother who only saw the negatives. Looking at life from an upbeat mindset has opened my eyes to the hopes and prospects of what CAN happen, rather than what can’t happen.
A task that I give folks when they are struggling to see hope is to keep a “grateful journal.” Every day they are to write down 10 positives and continue that practice for a week. Sounds simple, right? There is one catch; you can’t repeat a positive once you’ve used it. At the end of the week you should have 70 positive things that have occurred in your life.
It’s amazing the things people are grateful for by the end of the week. Outside of family, friends, church, work, house, food, car, etc., people recorded things like clean socks, plenty of toilet paper, or waking up in the morning. I had one gentleman who said he was thankful that he didn’t have to keep finding things to be thankful for, which made us both laugh.
In my book, laughter is one of best spiritual, mental, and physical medicines. I try to find something to laugh about every day. I’m not talking about the chuckles that make us smile, but those bits of laughter that reach deep down into our bellies and our souls. I believe it is laughter that brings light into the darkest moments of our lives. It becomes contagious spreading quickly to everyone around us. It can be spread through a window to a loved one, on the phone, or through a video. Wouldn’t it be great if our laughter turned out to be just as infectious as COVID-19? We sure could use that right about now.
Are you up for the challenge of spreading some belly laughs? I believe it’s time to be creative with our time at home. Maybe, in this virtual world, you could play charades with others by creating videos and emailing or sharing them via social media. This could create a little lag time waiting for the answer, but the suspense of anticipating the response might actually add to the fun.
Another idea might be to practice a song and dance routine to share through the window with a neighbor, friend, or strangers in the nursing home. Remember the purpose is to create opportunities to share in laughter, so the crazier you are the richer your reward will be in belly laughs.
Our lives have been blessed with rapid advancements in technology. Perhaps now is the time to use that technology to bring some laughter into the world. This is about reaching out and connecting with others. I have always been taught that helping another soul can bring a smile to your heart. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
The greatest thing about laughter is it’s something you can do by yourself, with a group, or even at a socially appropriate distance. My challenge to you is to find something to laugh about every day and figure out how to make others double over laughing right along with you.
Stay healthy, find the positives each day, and share the laughter.
Food for thought,