Have you ever noticed how much better you feel after letting out a deep belly, slap-your-knee kind of laugh? I almost feel immediate sense of happiness and reduced stress as the dopamine rushes through my brain. As I reflect on the past 9 months during the pandemic, I have tried to be intentional about including humor in my days. Between spending virtual time with family and friends, to my profession of caring for the sick, laughter has been the one constant that has helped me to forget about the sadness, deaths, and isolation - even if just for a moment. Laughter allows us to live in a space of happiness and light-heartedness that is void of the burdens of the societal despairs. Surely, we know that the realities are still present and that laughter does not actually cure them - but the social connection and positive experience is both welcomed and appreciated.
Recently, I’ve spent some time to think about how our interactions have changed as we have gotten older. Namely, it has been my experience that considerable time was spent with friends - laughing and enjoying ourselves in a shared space - when we were younger, perhaps when times were even a little simpler - noadulthood stress (bills, family, work, etc). However, the stressors of this past year, in particular, have seemed to result in a collective trauma. This year, we have likely cried, sighed, and shook our heads more than we have laughed and we have felt the effects. We have felt the physical and emotional pain - thanks to the pandemic and social and racial injustice. For this reason, laughs have been fewer and far between. Therefore, we must find away to escape gloom and doom, explore cheerful moments, and look forward to happier times.
So I ask you to think about the last time you really laughed. When was the last time you laughed until you cried, until your stomach ached, until you gasped for air? When was the last time the sound of your laugh made someone else laugh? Whatever your answers, you deserve to giggle until your heart is content. I encourage you to find your funny person that turns the most mundane of situations into a comedy reel. Watch a silly movie. Laugh at yourself. Be the reason someone else laughs. Build the connections and share happiness with someone else. Let those happy hormones flow freely. We can all use a good laugh right now.