I took my 17-year-old daughter to a Jack White concert last night.
I’m 62, young at heart, and probably the oldest fan at the show. We were also the only gweebs who got there two hours early.
While we sat waiting for the show to start, I became annoyed by three guys who sat across the aisle from us. As soon as they sat down, they started laughing. Heads together, they elbowed one another, throwing high-fives and bursting into body-convulsing laughter.
What could possibly be so funny? How is it even possible to laugh so hard for so long? Between waves of curiosity and head-shaking, I’d check in with my well-behaved, quiet daughter. Always calm, there would be no belly-laughing out of her.
My focus and monkey brain kept steering me back to the three stooges as I struggled to comprehend these guys. I pondered how I could be so offended by a group of friends having a great time at one of the first, best, post-Covid concerts in town. Even I was offended by my own pathetic offense.
Then it occurred to me…I’d completely lost my sense of humor. One of my greatest assets, I’d been traumatized and had it tortured out of me by the mental restrictions of a two-year Covid prison. I was also rendered humorless by the stress and seriousness of managing my husband’s mental breakdown that coincided with the pandemic. For nearly a year I’ve helped get him through the quagmire of doctors and shrinks, meds and medical bills.
Research shows the benefits of a good laugh:
>> A study published by the National Cancer Institute found that people who laugh on a regular basis decrease hormones related to stress.
>> Laughter increases the number of natural killer cells and activated T cells, two things that help your body stay healthy and strong.
>> A belly laugh boosts your respiratory rate, heart rate, and increases oxygen consumption.
>> To laugh raises your heart rate and circulation…kind of an aerobic workout without the sweat. Once you stop, the heart rate drops below average, improved circulation continues, and you go into a relaxed state.
>> Laughter strengthens immunity, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damage of stress.
>> Laughter can even help you live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don’t laugh as much, especially with people fighting cancer.
Truthfully, the longer I sat eavesdropping, the more I wanted to hang with those guys…to be those guys. In what I thought was a waste of two hours, they showed me the battle scars I’ve incurred from all this madness. And they helped me see that I need a dose of my own medicine. And that it’s okay to find the fun in dysfunction.
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