Ever have a moment at a funeral where you have a moment with another mourner and find yourselves laughing uncontrollably? You feel horribly guilty afterward because you are incredibly sad and grieving so why the laughter? Why do we laugh when we are likely not in the mood is actually our body's way of dealing with overwhelming stress. We get to the point where the feelings are so intense that we can no longer handle the load so to cope, our bodies react in an opposite manner. This auto response our bodies produce can also be replicated on our own and be helpful in dealing with Covid-19 related anxiety and grief right now.
Now by stating this, it's important to point out this is not to minimize our grief, fear, or worry about this pandemic. Those feelings are valid, real and global right now. And there are those of us who are handling more than enough of our share based on certain circumstances we maybe experiencing. So this should not replace leaning into those feelings and truly experiencing them to process them appropriately. But when you are in the thick of those feelings, the intensity and length of time you are there can be unhelpful too. And this is the space where humor and laughter can play a role.
So how do you access feelings of joy when also feeling exhausted, scared and alone? Here are some tips to help:
1- Find your favorite stand up comedian on Netflix and watch with a big bowl of popcorn.
2- Call up that friend from 5th grade who made you laugh
so hard you almost wet your pants and ask for a funny story.
3- Go to Youtube and search for videos of laughing babies or stupid animal tricks. I dare you not to laugh when a baby is giggling their hardest.
4- Create your own funny. We all have a unique sense of humor even if no one has described you as funny in the past. Search within yourself to find what make you laugh and create meme around it. You never know what others will find funny too!
5- Do an activity that is not only fun but brings a smile to others. My daughter, niece and myself developed a free, community service called Birthday Car where we decorate my car with the person's name, ballons and decorations and drive by playing, Today is Your Birthday, by the Beatles upon request from a family member. It not only brings a smile to the birthday recipent we drive by, it also uplifts us for the rest of the day!
6- Watch your favorite slapstick movie from your past, Airplane! is one of my favorites that come to mind.
There are definitely even more ways to find laughter in your day once you start looking for it to occur. It takes practice during these difficult times to find it. But I promise that the effort is worth it. What's that old adage? Laughter is the best medicine? In these times, we need that more than ever.