Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Laughter and The Holiday Blues



Caution: Consult a medical professional if you have major depression, a potentially dangerous condition that requires correct diagnosis and treatment. Home remedies should only be used with medical approval. Also, check with your medical professional for prescription drug contraindications, and double check with your pharmacist to be extra sure.


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From now until the new year I'm going to write about depression, focusing on a remedy per day. Today's post is about laughter for depression. And by depression, I do not mean major depression. I mean something more like the holiday blues.
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As Reader's Digest has been saying for years, "Laughter is the Best Medicine." You can't laugh and be sad at the same time. It's like trying to sneeze with your eyes open, somehow, the two just don't go together.

So when you see the holidays are coming up, prepare yourself. Prepare to laugh, that is! Look for the humor in every moment, even - and especially - the most frustrating and depressing. I speak from experience. In my teen years, long ago and far away, I clearly remember a moment when I was determinedly suicidal...until the realization occured to me that if I ended it all right then, my last meal would have been a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Which made me laugh, and want to put off such drama for a more auspicious moment; 40 years later that moment has not arrived.

On another occasion, I came to the rescue of a family member who had been brutally attacked. Seeing a borrowed article of my clothing which had been used as a gag--not funny--I pointed to it and said in mock seriousness, "That isn't my ____, is it?" Uproarously funny. An injection of humor which lifted the victim for a moment even in the midst of trauma. Ha ha, I turned a not funny gag into a funny gag! It helps to have a wacky sense of humor and to know what others will appreciate.

I got it my sense of humor from my Dad. In 1979 he was terminally ill and had a visit from a couple of people he'd been very close to but hadn't seen for quite a while: his sister and his best friend. As they laughed and reminisced, having an uproarously good time, I remember him joking, "Well have to get together again the next time I'm dying of cancer!"

So, maybe humor is in your genes, maybe not. Or maybe you're just not feeling humorous at the moment. Fortunately, there are lots of other souces of humor: books, movies, TV. Find what suits you best, makes you feel good, lifts you out of your mood. Perhaps devote an area to a humor collection: books, CDs of humorous books or comedy routines, DVDs of your most favorite funny movies. Even fun activities: a jump rope, a box of tiddly winks. Go there when you're feeling down. Pick something to lift you back up. It just might be the most important holiday preparation you can make!

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