Laugh Medicine

By Joyce

A few weeks ago, when I returned to work as an on-call interfaith chaplain at Harborview Medical Center, Tita, at the front information desk, exuberantly welcomed me back. It had been three years since I last saw Tita yet her spirit shined as bright as ever. Some staff at Harborview practice medicine. Tita is medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicine understands a person’s shen or spirit as integral to health; when shen is strong, eyes are bright, radiating spiritual and emotional well-being. Tita, stationed at Harborview’s ground floor entrance, not only shares information and directions, she, a practitioner and leader of laugh yoga, also shares joy, love and compassion. And, of course, laughter is thrown in for free.

Tita described her daily self-cure practices to me: When I wake at 4:45 in the morning, I spend five minutes expressing my gratitude. I say, “Thank you God for this new day, bless my day; it’s going to be a great day.” I look at the sky and say, “Thank you for the beautiful day.” When I take a shower, I laugh. When I drive, I laugh. When I am at work, I laugh. When I am in the bathroom, I laugh. You don’t have to have stress. You don’t have to have other emotions. You just have to celebrate life everyday.

I can attest from personal experience, Tita’s methods work. During my chaplain residency, I often joined Tita at Harborview’s weekly laughter club. At first, I felt awkward and silly, forced even, as I participated in the goofy group exercises. Soon enough the awkward silly me was cutting loose, my goofball self laughed like the most practiced in the room. Not hard, really. At the time, those weekly laugh-ins became a self-care practice; an antidote to daily grief and trauma exposure.

We know laughter is an upper but beyond enhancing mood, there is also research showing laughter offers pain relief, immune cell activation, stress reduction, blood sugar regulation and blood pressure reduction. When I’m at Harborview, I inevitably gravitate towards the information desk and get in line for my daily dose of Tita.

Join Tita at Harborview’s Laughter Club on Fridays at noon in the resource center.

…read more

Read more here:: DailySelfCure