As my best girlfriend Marian struggled to find her way after her husband’s death, she investigated several new activities that she hoped would re-channel her grief. One of those is called Laughter Yoga. The premise is that laughter frees something inside you, even if – in the beginning at least – it isn’t heartfelt because the body can’t differentiate between humorous and forced laughter.
“You should try it,” Marian told me. “It’s unbelievably therapeutic to just laugh for no reason at all!”
Sure it is, I thought.
Sure it is, I thought.
But a few weeks later, while facing one of the most stressful days I’d faced in a while, I sat at a stoplight, deep-breathing. Marian’s words came to mind. In one of those desperate-enough-to-even-try-this moments, I decided to give it a shot. With the windows clamped shut and the radio cranked up, I let out one good hardy laugh. After pausing in hope of the outcome she’d suggested, I tried it again – this time, louder. And hardier.
Just about the time that a small sense of relief actually did creep up on me, I glanced over at the car next to me where the driver gawked with pure, unabashed judgment. As our eyes met, she cocked her head and raised an eyebrow as if she’d caught me picking my nose.
When the light turned green, she shook her head and drove away, and – for some reason – the situation struck me as hilariously funny. I guffawed and snorted at myself all the way home.
“I told you so!” Marian cried that evening when I called to recount my experience and blame her for my embarrassment.
And then the laughter came again, the best kind, the kind you can only share with your closest friend. I’m guessing it was no great miracle that I slept like a baby that night, waking up in the morning to the realization that a merry heart really is like medicine.
Thank You, Father, for the joy of laughter, especially when it’s shared with a friend.
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Sandra D. Bricker was an entertainment publicist in Los Angeles for 15+ years. She is now a best-selling, award-winning author of laugh-out-loud fiction for the inspirational market. As an ovarian cancer survivor, she gears time and effort toward raising awareness and funds for research, diagnostics and a cure. Her latest novel, Book #3 of 4 in the Another Emma Rae Creation series for Abingdon Press, is Always the Designer, Never the Bride. Sandie invites every reader to click the FOLLOW button on her newly-redesigned BLOG and contribute to the ongoing conversations.