Humour helps us heal

"Seeking someone with a good sense of humour"... It is widely acknowledged that humour, and laughter in particular, releases endorphins which help us feel good.  Which I guess is why we all seek this in our friends, and also in our life partners.  There are countless articles about the benefits of humour, books, and even movies (remember the late great Robin Williams as Patch Adams?)  Humour helps us feel good and helps us heal.

When our second son was stillborn at 35 weeks there was not a lot of laughter.  It was the toughest and saddest time of my life.  We were struggling to comprehend why our son died, and yet had to plan and organise a funeral for our tiny child to be held within days of his birth.

It was a dark period for me. A time of extreme emotional pain, worsened by the physical pain of post-labour cramping – all of which felt like further insult when there was no child to hold.  A time of extreme grief, pain, anger, disbelief and of course, tears.

Yet, there were moments, glimpses, of normal life. These appeared fleetingly, and would pass again. But often these little moments involved a touch of humour.

In the days after the funeral, we received many beautifully written, thoughtful cards with messages of condolence and hope.  The kind words people were able to write and share with us gave both my husband and I great comfort and we still treasure the cards we received.

Yet in amongst the tears as we read the heartfelt sympathy messages, there were brief moments of humour too.  One of the cards had a message “time is a great heeler”.  This certainly brought a wry smile and then a bit of a giggle.  We joked that one day we would get a blue heeler cattle dog and name it ‘Thyme’.  And then we could really say, “Thyme is a great heeler”.  This silly idea sparked something inside, tickled our sense of humour if you like, and we giggled about it, which then developed into a proper laugh.

joyhopelove.comWe were not laughing at the intention of the message, that ‘time will heal’, for it certainly can be true.  Rather, our souls were seeking a break from the heavy sadness that beset us.  Humour and laughing together, brought us closer in our time of pain and allowed us to forget for the briefest of moments the circumstances we were in.

Even to this day, more than 7 years after the loss of our son, these few words remind us of the little sparks of levity that would break through the sadness.

With a moment of humour, we found a way to lighten the burden of our grief.

When you, or others you know, are going through tough times, remember it’s not wrong to laugh. It’s Okay to laugh. In fact, it helps.  So, don’t stop yourself from finding the funny side of a situation, and certainly don’t judge someone else who is laughing at what appears (to you) to be an inappropriate time.  It’s always okay to laugh, as long as it is not at another’s expense.

When you are having a hard time, a tough day, a bad week, month or year, give yourself permission to laugh; to actively seek humour and find funny things to bring a smile or giggle.  Watch a movie, read a comic, tell or hear a joke, or do, read or watch something else that for reasons unknown just appeal to your sense of humour.  And then enjoy those funny moments, and allow yourself to laugh!

If you are having a tough time you may find that humour finds you, like it did us.  And yes, we still smile at the idea of 'Thyme the (blue) heeler'.

Let’s chat!  Have you used humour to lift your mood or ease sadness?  I’d love to know what your experience has been.  Please comment if you feel moved to do so.