Laughter… is it really that important? We all know the 5 senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Some argue a sixth sense is knowing where our body is in space. Others call our sixth sense that gut feeling… our inner knowing. Not long ago, I overheard a student diagnosed with autism asking the educational assistant working with her, “Why are there only 5 senses? Why are there not more senses?” I didn’t think much of it at the time until now after seeing that my mom has recently lost the ability to do something I have always taken for granted… laugh! With my mom’s latest loss, the importance of laughter is blatantly clear to me.
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My Mom’s Journey to No Longer Laughing
My mom recently suffered another stroke. It has been 10 years since her initial brain injury. Over the course of these 10 years, her 5 senses have significantly diminished! However, it was the stroke she suffered a week ago that has me realizing that there is a sense necessary for all humans that we don’t appreciate having nearly enough! With this last stroke, my mom has lost her ability to laugh.
I can’t imagine not being able to laugh. Then I look at my mom and see her reality… she can still hear, but her other senses have dulled. Yes, they are faintly there, but not anywhere near where they once were. After seeing her laughter has faded away, I think this may be the one that captures me the most. I never thought of laughter as being something I had ever taken for granted, but clearly, it is.
Laughter is Contagious
Laughter may be more contagious than a smile! It’s funny how I’ve never really given much thought about laughing. I feel somewhat empty when I haven’t experienced it in a few days. Laughing can immediately lift one’s emotions.
A baby’s laugh is incredibly contagious. Then there are laughs like Kawhi Leonard’s that get other people laughing just at the sound of it. If you haven’t done it yet, Google Kawhi Leonard laughing and you too will be laughing along with him! Have you ever had the giggles? It feels so silly when this happens, yet feels so great and refreshing as well!
Laughter is a universal language across cultures. It is one of the first ways that our children communicate that they are enjoying themselves. Although what gets people laughing will vary between cultures, the benefits of laughing are the same. Laughter reduces our levels of stress and produces a general sense of well-being.
So What Lesson Am I Taking from This?
My big lesson is to allow myself to laugh regularly. Doing so will encourage me to enjoy the moment and to be present in the now. I have been guilty of taking life too seriously at times, forgetting to laugh and take part in/enjoy the happy moments life offers me. However, I do believe that life is meant to be enjoyed. I know I feel SOOO much better when I allow myself to laugh! Life also seems easier when I am laughing.
My children can often get me to laugh. One of them frequently gets me up dancing to mimic my
terrible awesome dance moves. 😉 I have gone from feeling sluggish or even grouchy to laughing and having a great time. This really is a choice. I am guilty of telling my kids I don’t have time to do fun things resulting in me staying in a slump. However, when I go along with them, the result is that I laugh and have fun! This feels so good and is something available to each of us when we choose.
Resources to Get Us Laughing and Experiencing the Importance of Laughter
Sometimes it takes external resources to help pick us up and get us laughing. Some resources I recommend to do just that include the following:
I Just Want to Pee Alone by Some Kick Ass Mom Bloggers
This is a collection of authentic and hilarious essays written by a variety of Mom Bloggers that all parents will be able to relate to!
Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
This book is for those not offended by one’s vulgar point of view as it is fairly crude at times. It is based on things the author’s dad has said over the years.
I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart
I bought this book for my now adult son when it first came out. It is about Kevin Hart’s life told as only he could tell it. Clearly, the importance of laughter has played a huge role in his life. This book is not only funny but incredibly inspiring as well!
Okay, we all shop at Walmart! When you click to be able to ‘Look Inside’ this book, there is a disclaimer that the creator of it also shops at Walmart and has nothing against shopping there. Rather, it states that the book is simply meant as satirical social commentary.
Although I don’t personally own this book, I can see it being a lot of fun to color. It is proven that coloring can be extremely relaxing not only for children but for adults as well. I believe this coloring book would be great for adults looking to add some laughter to their coloring sessions!
Funny TV Shows
Funny Books to Read to Children
If you are looking for books to read to your children that are sure to tickle their funny bone, please check out the post I wrote entitled Hilarious Chapter Books to Read to Your Children.
Summarizing the Importance of Laughter
Laughter is cross-cultural and has numerous benefits. The ability to laugh and feel emotions truly is up there with the five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. The importance of laughter and its benefits extends beyond humankind. Laughter is necessary to fully experience life!
What about you?
Do you believe in the importance of laughter? Can you imagine life without the ability to laugh? What are some things that you do to get you laughing? Let me know in the comments below!
*Note: Sherry’s mom passed away just 11 days after this blog post was published.