“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.” —Kurt Vonnegu”
Laughter is like a breath of fresh air that we desperately need. This seemingly simple act affects most of your body systems. Laughter strengthens the immune system by stimulating your body to increase production of immunoglobulin. It improves your heart rate and circulation by boosting the oxygen supply to your brain. Laughter controls pain by decreasing muscle tension, distracting attention, and increasing the production of endorphins, natural pain killers. Laughter is like giving yourself an internal massage as it stimulates and soothes. It truly is medicine for the heart.
Sometimes when we feel inept, like a duck out of water, in our efforts to care for our loved one, the healthiest way to respond is to laugh at our own imperfections. We are human and at times say the wrong thing, spill soup down the front of the loved one’s shirt, or mess up at the most inopportune moment. But if we can’t laugh, all we do is cry.
Humor, like prayer, helps us to rise above our circumstances. Laughter reminds us that one is much more than his or her illness. We are all persons first, still alive and able to enjoy levity. Joy is still possible for the loved one and the caregiver
Try keeping a journal of humorous things you see, hear or read. Place cartoons on your refrigerator or bulletin board. They will be there when you need them. Avoid negative people. Don’t put yourself down. Call someone today to arrange to meet for a few hours to renew your spirit. It truly will be medicine for your heart.
Primeplus Norfolk Senior Center’s Adult Day Care program is one Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. For more information, please contact the Director, Sandy White at 757.625.5847 for more information.