Laughing is a great therapy for parents raising children with trauma histories

It Doesn’t Hurt to Laugh

Guest Author Post

By:  Anna Paravano-Frise

Ok, let’s face it:
“Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.”  (Hershey’s)

Kind of like that nutty guy on the ceiling in the movie “Mary Poppins” who sang, “I love to laugh!” I really do love to laugh! I love anything and anyone that makes me laugh. BC (Before Child), I really bought into the notion that “laughter is the best medicine.” Life can be such a serious business so I made it a point to watch comedies and comedians as a way to release stress, fight depression, or simply have fun. Yes, I loved a good drama but when times got tough, I used laughter as one of my coping mechanisms.

Science tells us laughter is a good way to change our body chemistry – literally “changing our minds,” if you will.  Adding some levity to our lives can actually improve our health and the overall quality of our lives. So, laughter was one of the really basic and cheap ways I found to take care of myself in the down times.
Since becoming a therapeutic mama to a traumatized child, opportunities to laugh, joke, etc. came few and far between.

Due to lack of sleep, I began to feel more “nutty,” but not in the humorous sense of the word. Therapeutic parenting can be a serious, intense, and challenging business – finding time and ways to catch a break has been one of the greatest challenges of all.

With no one to watch my child, a limited income, and even less energy, I was becoming a truly humorless person. So, this is one of things I did to take care of myself – I used my DVR to tape my favorite movies, funny late night talk shows, 30 minute comedies, whatever I liked  Then, after my child was finally asleep and no matter the time, I would watch something that made me laugh before I went to sleep. (BTW: I used headphones so I wouldn’t wake anyone.)

I’ll admit that at first this was hard for me because I was so tired that nothing was seemed funny. But I kept going and eventually I learned to focus on the funny and let go of everything else.  Just those few minutes provided an escape and a way to reclaim a part of who I am as a person – someone who really likes to laugh and enjoy herself.

And let’s face it: Laughing is cheaper than wine and there’s no law against driving after having a few good laughs.

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