Laughter is the best medicine

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 26, 2008

I’ve been on a quotes kick lately for some reason.

There’s something about a good quote that just sticks with you and helps you get through the worst of times.

Famous quotes – and laughter – are two things it would be hard to do without.

Put together the two and you have a way to deal with almost anything.

After all, it was Bill Cosby (one of my all-time favorite comedians) who said, &uot;You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything – even poverty – you can survive it.&uot;

That’s pretty much my family motto, even if we’ve never really said it aloud.

Growing up, my mom and I were partners in crime, always finding ourselves laughing in situations where most people would find laughter inappropriate.

Call it a defense mechanism or whatever you want, but I grew up with the belief that – like Cosby said – you can survive anything through finding humor in any given situation.

There’s always something to laugh about, if you only look hard enough.

And laughter is certainly better than wallowing in self-pity, grief, anger, denial, or any other negative emotion you can think of.

If you ever see me smiling at a funeral, it’s probably because I’m remembering something fun and amusing that the deceased said or did.

That, to me, is a more fitting tribute to someone who died than drowning in tears and sorrow.

Sometimes, inevitably, the tears do slip through – they are bound to – but generally speaking, I’ve found that it’s best to focus on the positive.

I sincerely doubt that the majority of people who die really want their loved ones to be so grief-stricken that they can’t even function normally.

People who truly love you hate to see you cry, even when they’re here to comfort you; so certainly they wouldn’t want you to cry when they’re not.

Of course, it’s okay to be sad; it’s healthy and expected, even… but it serves no purpose to dwell on that feeling.

When I die (hopefully a long time from now!), I don’t want a bunch of people sitting on hard church pews and looking sorrowful.

Instead, remember the good things… and have a party.

Listen to music.

Be merry.

Laughter also helps alleviate boredom and the drudgery of day-to-day life.

From providing an occasional distraction from a boring task at work, to helping the person next to you stay awake during an uneventful meeting, humor serves a much-needed purpose in the world.

Speaking of laughter, it’s pretty ironic that I can barely finish writing this column because my co-workers keep cracking me up by making jokes.

Nevertheless, the welcome interruption only serves to put me in a better mood and gives me more motivation to finish.

That’s the thing I love most about my job – we all get our work done promptly, but we still have a great time doing it.

For me personally, I think laughing about things actually makes me more productive.

I can be sitting at my desk, bored to tears over a budget story (for example), about to fall asleep at the keyboard… and then somebody cracks a joke and I laugh so hard that I’m wide awake again and can focus on the task at hand.

So smile often, laugh loud, and enjoy life.

That’s what it’s all about.

Jennipher Dickens is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

She can be reached by calling (252) 332-7208 or by emailing