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The Laughter Tonic

Charlie Chaplin once said, ‘Laughter is a tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain’,

I first read this quote about six years ago and didn’t think much about it then.


I continued on my path, years filled with highs and lows, disappointments, many joyous moments, good days and bad ones, falling and then picking myself up and growing stronger, finding myself.

Learning to look at myself in the mirror, I began working through every heartache, all the pain that life has thrown at me and learned to forgive myself and others. Finally, I understand that not everyone that enters my life is good for me. Some are here to teach me lessons or help me realise what I need and then move on. I am learning to let go of what isn’t good for me and my well being—learning to forgive myself and others—finding my positivity, finding my centre, realising that I am way stronger than I thought and loving myself with my new normal.

Most of all, filling each day with as much gratitude, joy, love. Light, kindness, generosity, loads of laughter made me realise that Parkinson’s disease stole a part of my life, but its presence also forced me to view life through a new pair of spectacles.


When I reread this quote at the end of 2021, it resonated with me. I now view it from a whole new perspective. These few words spoke volumes to me. It was finding this tonic that changed my life forever.

I have reached a point where I choose to be happy. I prefer to laugh every day, especially on my bad days. This has helped me so much, I can’t control the disease, and I refuse to waste this life on what was and could have been. Laughing about this disease with family and friends, laughing at myself when we remember stuff I did while changing medication, makes me feel liberated.


Dr Khajuria outlined beneficial points of laughter in an article for Psychiatric Times. Laughing increases one’s pain threshold and immunity and can help break the cycle between pain, sleep loss, depression. 

Laughter decreases blood pressure, epinephrine, and glucose levels and increases glucose tolerance.

It also improves the body’s immune response to chest infections.

Humour and laughter release endorphins with both euphoric and calming effects.

Laughter Yoga (Hasya Yoga) is an ancient but effective technique developed in India. It involves mimicking the act of laughing to achieve positive psychological outcomes. The results are a significant increase in positive emotions and decreases in the symptoms of stress and anxiety, as well as pressure and improved quality of sleep in patients who have Parkinson's disease.

Other articles reiterated the above. One other fact that stood out for me in an article written by Mayoclinic staff, “humour and laughter don’t cure your illness, but the data from studies is still increasing regarding the positive effect of laughter.”

You may say, “it's not going to cure the disease, so why try it?”

Well, I wanted to move forward. PD shoved its way into our lives like most diseases. We may not experience the exact same symptoms, but we can help each other cope and help those who have lost sight of the light.

Hey, whatever works for you. Right?

Adding this prescription into my life, just like the exercise and the medication, made me feel happier less stressed and improved my general outlook on life. It also attracted people with the same mindset into my life.

I have friends who know just how to turn my frown upside down. You know who you are.

I would like to believe that I am that person for others, also.

I have a few friends who also have their illnesses. We support each other. We don’t ask questions about the other's illnesses; share if you want to. That's the unspoken motto. The main aim is to listen to and lift the spirits of the other. To laugh about the day, the silly stuff that our illnesses make us do, we give the person on the other side of the line a break, a chance (even for a little while) to forget all the weight that the illness brings and laugh and hopefully make the day a little lighter, more bearable.


So, what’s the harm in trying?

Remember: this is what works for me. Try it if you want to or don’t if it isn’t your cup of tea. The choice will always be yours.

Right now, I stand at a crossroads. Over the past six years, there has been a rapid increase in symptoms. As a result, I have now reached the maximum dose for the medications I’m on. My neurologist has walked this journey with me as long as he could.

It's time to walk through a new door. Of course, it's scary, but I have an appointment with a Movement disorder specialist. Let's see where this door leads to on my journey.

Thank you for all the love and kindness you've shown me.n

I will keep you posted.


I am sending you much love and light.


A


https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/laughter-best-medicine


https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/basics/stress-basics/hlv-20049495



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