I was recently doing a tour with a prospective participant and as we exited the center he commented that “everyone seems happy”. Indeed, I think you are guaranteed to laugh at least once a day when you come here. In fact, I see a lot of our participants (and staff) laughing far more often than once a day. I would say, for me, it is one of the things that makes it so pleasurable to work here…the joy and laughter that exists here every day.

Whether it is one of Larry’s jokes (or his giggle that follows), a funny story shared about childhood, or a wild game of charades, there is a lot to laugh at, and plenty of people to laugh with. Our activity staff go out of their way to create entertaining activities and our participants enhance those activities with their smiles and enthusiasm. And those smiles and enthusiasm are contagious. It is a wonderful thing!

How about at home…are you laughing everyday? They say that humor can help you cope better with pain, enhance your immune system, reduce your stress, and in general…help you live longer. Sure beats taking a pill! Cliff Kuhn (MD, humorist and author) writes ‘When you are having fun you are in a low-stress state – you’re creative, unbound, healthy, and fully alive. Most adults, unfortunately, wait until they are done with work, chores, and responsibilities before they allow themselves to have fun…When an adult only has fun during the few sanctioned fun-times she has available, she soon forgets how to truly have fun!”

I know that many of you face significant challenges at home, it certainly isn’t all fun and games. But it is important that you find ways to bring joy and laughter in to each and every day. Where to begin, you ask? First step..look in the mirror. Are you smiling? Not the same as laughing, but a good first step. Smile at yourself, smile at others. They just might smile back The smile on your face is like a primer for the laugh that might follow…you are that much closer.

Look for little joys to bring a chuckle. How about the little kids playing in the yard next door? The way the cat is sleeping in the sun? The funny thing mom said or did. A chuckle here and there has the potential to turn in to a laugh. It opens your spirit up to finding funny, even in the not so funny.

Find other people to laugh with. You don’t have to join a club (though it isn’t a bad idea), but you can laugh with the lady in the check-out line or the bank teller. Call a friend; join a class; head to the mall. If you are solo, watch a funny movie, or a 30 minute sit-com. Turn off the crime scene drama and find a show with a laugh track. Check out some of the old classics, like I Love Lucy or Little Rascals.

Laughter is like a sport. The more you practice, the better you get. And the more you laugh, the more other people like to be around you. And if those people are fun people, you’ll laugh even more. What a wonderful cycle!!

Christina Forbes, LGSW from the Daybreak Newsletter 3/2012