Laughter Lightens My Load

Because who doesn’t need more laughter right now!? Let’s be honest, it’s been a tough stretch for a lot of us. The politics, the controversy, the lack of social connection, the alienation amongst groups of friends and families – so many of us have been struggling. My offering this November is that we laugh a little more, and worry a little less.

November is a dark month. Literally dark. It’s the host to many short days, long nights, stormy weather, and of course the questionably outdated practice of daylight “savings”.  Sandwiched between the fun of Halloween and the joy of Christmas, November marks a month of remembrance and mourning. We wear the poppy as a symbol of respect for those that have given their lives to protect and serve our country. On November 11th, we practice silence and gather not to celebrate, but to mourn. It’s this time of year when seasonal depression becomes very real for many people. November is tough.

For me personally, November is a difficult month. On November 17th, 2013 my dad passed away very suddenly from a heart attack. At just 24 years old, I was not prepared to face such sudden sadness. For many years, November has marked a month of remembering, and of grief. I am confident that I have shed more tears in the month of November than any other month of the year.

So as I ruminated on the “Mantra of the Month”, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the darkness that is present at this time of year. How can I put a positive spin on a month that has always, to me, felt so filled with grief?

When I think of my Dad, my brightest memories are of his incredible sense of humour. His ability to laugh at himself and (sometimes) others, was one of his greatest gifts. He was a goofball, and when I think of him now, I can’t help but smile. My Dad taught me not to take life too seriously, and when in doubt, to laugh. So it’s with his playful spirit in mind that I offer our community more laughter, more play, less worry, and more lightness.

Can you imagine a month of all collectively making laughter our purpose? Where we all lighten our moods, and put playfulness at the forefront of our minds. Can you imagine the joy and brightness we would feel, just simply by shifting our perspective?

When you can give into it, laughter really is medicine. When we laugh, the body releases endorphins and oxytocin, lowers blood pressure, exercises the cardiovascular system and oxygenates the blood. Psychologically, laughing can be a way to harmlessly release difficult emotions stored in the body, such as anger, sadness and fear. Laughter can reduce the effects of stress on the body, and experts are now even claiming that laughter can positively impact the immune system. Read more on the science of laughter, right HERE.

This November, let’s all set our intention to laugh more. Let the giggles flow. Take things less seriously. Find the funnies in life. Spread joy. Practice more play. Let laughter lighten your load.

A few ways you can live the mantra:
• Schedule more “play” time into your day. Go on an adventure.
• Set your intention to laugh more.
• Watch stand up comedy on Netflix.
• Schedule a weekly games night with your family.
• Practicing smiling more (yes, even under the mask).
• Schedule a date night and connect with your partner (Yoga Date night, anyone?)
• Call up that friend that makes you belly laugh.
• Read an uplifting and funny book.
• Read the funnies section of the newspaper.
• Give yourself permission to be silly.
• Try something new and channel your inner child.
• Tune into an all comedy radio station ie 1040 AM.

Photo of me and my Dad, being goofs, just a few weeks before he passed.

By Prestonne Sehn.

Posted in Blog.