Earlier this week I was feeling sad. I think everyone can pretty much identify with this feeling and more. My problems are minor compared to the losses of so many others around the world. In times like these it is easy to be overwhelmed with grief, sadness, hopelessness, all of which sadly are parts of life on a much smaller scale.
It is best to feel what we feel instead of denying it or trying to “buck up” and act like we’re fine when we’re not. But we have been in a stressful time for so long already. Sometimes we need a little break from the stress and just plain emotional exhaustion.
I don’t know what your circumstances are but there comes a point where you need a pressure release to help clear the cobwebs and remind you of the beauty and good things that still exist in the world. There are many helpful releases for the emotions of grief, sadness, and loneliness, such as: going for a walk in the woods, exercise, meditation, prayer, cleaning house, getting out of the house and just talking with a friend. Sometimes dancing to the music that stirs your emotions or your heart, can help you release some of what is bothering you.
But I have one favorite release: laughter. Not just laughter but knee slapping, tears flowing, “got to share this with someone else” laughter. With that as a premise I want to say that a good bout of laughter can be good for you on general principles.
So to go back to the beginning, last year I hadn’t seen my my two son’s families due to the pandemic; my age; the potential of infection from my first son and wife being exposed at work by other people; and the age of my grandchildren by my second son and wife. We did FaceChat weekly but I really missed the hugs from each and every one of them.
Finally I saw the grandchildren the next September. We all met at a park before the weather got cold in October. The then two and four year-olds had their masks on and hugged me around the knees to keep them safe from any Covid germs I might be carrying. Those were two of the sweetest hugs!! I saw my granddaughter who was bundled up and how beautiful she was in her baby ways.
Then on Thanksgiving last year I had lunch with my first son and his wife. He came down with Covid that night with no warnings during the day. We had been careful to stay away from each other. But evidently I picked it up anyway and started with a mild case of Covid the following Monday. It only lasted three days with low grade fever and aches and some coughing. But I fought it off pretty quickly.
Last year I saw my first son and wife at Christmas when they came to visit. We had a nice visit with social distancing and masks to protect my daughter in law because she had not had Covid like my son and I had had after Thanksgiving. But it was such a delight to have some of my family in my home.
So I was feeling pretty blue. I also had not been able to sleep well the night before which set me up for friable emotions. I talked with one dear friend yesterday morning. She proved to be supportive and compassionate. But best of all after talking with her and listening to her kidding her husband, I laughed and somehow felt better. This all helped me cope with my woes and re-energized me to face the day.
So I thought why not try to say some funny things on Facebook to make people laugh. Being the open book kind of person that I am, I am also not afraid to share some of the dumb things I do (but not all of them.)
So on Facebook I revealed a weird experience. I usually don’t wear makeup under my glasses for nearsighteness, since I hardly go out any more. But the other day I decided to spruce myself up just for my own self, “I think I will dress up and put on some makeup.”
That night when I prepared to take my make up off, I wet the cotton ball with the makeup remover and moved it toward my closed eye to hold the solution against the mascara to soften it. Suddenly I realized that I didn’t feel anything on my eye. I realized I had forgotten to take my glasses off and had applied the makeup remover to one lens of my glasses!
Boy, was that weird! Thinking about laughter’s healing ability, I shared my experience on Facebook. I brightened the day of others and some more today! But that is not all.
Because I had opened up about my goofy experience others shared their experiences. Something I am sure we all have done since Covid; trying to lick our fingers to wet them to open a produce plastic bag while wearing a mask. Some tried to put their contacts or even eyedrops in their eyes with their glasses on. There are tales of people looking for their glasses not realizing they’re in their hand or right on their head.
There is something helpful and clearing about a good cry. What better way to elicit healthy laughter that is so overcoming that you find your self laughing so hard you are crying. Lisa Marie Pepe said, ” Don’t be ashamed of honest tears; they are the windshield wipers of the soul.”
In times like these if you are able, try to balance some of the loneliness, sadness, overpowering feelings with laughter, whether from a memory, a friend or something goofy that just happened. It may help.