Have A Good Laugh
We were recently cleaning out our garage, and we came across a board game that had been the Sunday afternoon activity with my mom, just after my husband and I got married. We would visit for lunch. Then, once the kitchen was clean, we would begin our afternoon Scrabble match. It was always just the three of us: mom, my husband and me.
Inevitably, it would become a challenge between my mom and my husband. My husband was born in Costa Rica, and English is his second language. My mom and I grew up in the South. There were so many word challenges that it became common to pull out a large dictionary before we started, just to be ready. We learned a few Spanish words, and my husband learned some Southern slang. Many of these matches went on for hours and were filled with laughter.
I remember mom and I explaining to him what the word “yonder” meant. There was another time that I remember both of them with a letter stuck to their foreheads while trying to end a match. These are the times that I love to remember.
It has been said that “laughter is good medicine.” I would say that in moderation, it really is. There were times during the week that I could tell that she was getting a little down. Then when our Scrabble match would start, she would get her “game face” on, and as we began to laugh and talk, it was like the anxiety and loneliness would melt away.
Now there were a few times that we laughed a little too hard, and we had to stop everything for a little while because she had to catch her breath. There was one time that we were all laughing so hard that she couldn’t catch her breath. Then she immediately started joking about “dying laughing.” Of course we started laughing again. We had to reel it in and force ourselves to stop so that mom could catch up. Unfortunately she was one of the biggest contributors to the humor, so sometimes when we were able to stop, she would keep it going.
I know that for some COPD patients, laughing too hard can cause severe shortness of breath. My mom became that way a few years ago. However, even after that we always tried to keep a little laughter in the house because of the benefits.
There is so much that caregivers and patients worry about that finding a way to laugh is important in fighting depression and anxiety. It will soothe tension and improve your immune system. It can help you cope with all of the stress that you are enduring. It can stimulate your vital organs, and it signals your brain to increase the release of endorphins. Laughter may even relieve some pain.1
So remember to laugh, even when things get harder.