Laughter is the Best Medicine

Our librarian was positively gleeful when she announced that Will Ferguson was making an author visit. I did a weak hooray on her behalf and then admitted that I didn’t have a clue who Will Ferguson was. To make up for my ignorance, I loaded up on  few of his books (I love my library!) to prepare myself for his visit.

Last Thursday night I dove into How to be a Canadian . . .

. . .  which destroyed any chance the rest of my family had to relax into their own reading. I kept interrupting them to share one hilarious tidbit after another. My husband finally threw down his Canadian Business magazine in disgust and went to bed. My son and I, however, stayed up way too late, giggling over Mr. Ferguson’s absurdities.

I hadn’t laughed like that in a long time. It felt good and even though I lost sleep indulging in it, I was not adversely affected the next day. Au contraire. I floated through the entire day, buoyed by a huge inner smile.

Which reminded me of one of my favorite get-a-life people, Martha Beck. In her book, The Joy Diet, she prescribes at least 30 laughs a day.

Thirty laughs a day?!

I know I’ve come a long way from the earnest, first born perfectionist driving herself humorlessly through the endless duties of life, but punctuating that list of errands with thirty laughs? Every day? Come on!

Luckily, Martha Beck herself is always good for a laugh, and she even gives suggestions for those of us who are laugh-challenged:

* assess your comedic preferences (light, medium and dark humor) and then expose yourself to that type of comedy, either through live or media sources

* hang out with people who laugh

* use mechanical stimulation – recordings of nothing but laughter are laugh inducing, believe it or not

* laugh for no reason – check out the Ho-Ho-Ha-Ha-Ha branch of yoga

* learn to laugh at yourself (you can prime this by violating your usual rules of propriety and acting silly, taking any opportunity to dress in silly costumes which, over time, will enable you to laugh uproariously at everything that frustrates, confuses and scares the c#@p out of you.)

I heartily suggest that you read the chapter entitled “Laughter” in The Joy Diet. In fact, I heartily suggest that you read the entire book. And all of Martha’s books. Unless her brand of humor is not a good match for your own. In which case I would suggest that you do whatever makes you laugh, however dark and twisted that may be.

For my part, I’ll continue reading Mr. Ferguson. And Martha. And engaging in anything else that will spark that inner smile.

Like improv.

I love improv and the last time we enjoyed an evening of improvistional laughs was  . . . about 10 years ago.

I think it’s time my husband and I went on a date.

I’ll even drive so he can read his Canadian Business magazine right up to the last possible moment.

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2 Responses to Laughter is the Best Medicine

  1. Yvonne says:

    And how about a little improv of your own? Maybe its time for an improv party!

  2. maxinespence says:

    Did that last summer at Naramata. (Actually forgot about that as I was writing the post), but being the improviser was fun, too. I’m up for it. You hosting?

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