The Healing Powers of Laughter

Elise - Wifield, Illinois
Entered on November 3, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe that laughter has healing powers.

Elbert Hubbard, an American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher once said, “Laughter is higher than all pain.” His statement is completely relevant in life’s experiences, especially mine.

I recall the day I had to wake up early and miss school to drive my mom to the hospital for her scheduled colonoscopy. She was a wreck, worse than I’d ever seen her before. I originally thought it was because of her starvation for real food, after her mandatory, two-day liquid diet. However, the real reason she trembled with fear was because this test would determine her health status from now until the future. Despite her worried thoughts and assumptions, we sat in the waiting room laughing about how we would both pig out after all of this was over.

Unfortunately, the colonoscopy was only the beginning. Discovering the diagnosis of her colon cancer was utterly heartbreaking. She was set up for surgery the following week for the removal of the tumor located in her colon. During her week in the hospital, her diet consisted solely of ice chips. My mom and I giggled over the fantasy of chocolate and pizza flavored ice chips. Before long, her doctor pronounced her free of cancer. She became a survivor. Without the positive thoughts and conversations all involving laughing, the success of her fight against cancer would have been more difficult.

Looking back at my sixteen years of life, I’ve realized laughter has been an essential ritual for me. It was sophomore year when I found out that my best friend was anorexic and laughing seemed like the last thing to do. Together we worked through her frustrations and of course, laughter arose constantly. During my parents divorce, my brother and I learned to cope through jokes. Andrew and I were never big on bonding with each other, but we did spend time laughing together with our newfound humor connection. Each and every new day proves more and more to me that laughter has incredible healing powers.

Elbert Hubbard was correct when he claimed laughter to be above all pain. I must give bold recognition to laughter for helping my mother and family cope with the threat of cancer. Laughter’s healing powers helped put back together my relationship with my brother so that we became close again. The healing powers continue to aid my best friend while dealing with the challenges of her disease. All in all, laughter has shaped me into who I am today. It has proven to make a huge impact on my life and the lives around me.