(858) 675-1133 | www.waterpt.com
15373 Innovation Dr. #175 | San Diego, CA 92128 | (858) 675-1133 12171 World Trade Dr. | San Diego, CA 92128
I know it’s a cliche that we’ve all heard before, but there’s a good reason and so much useful truth behind this one: Laughter is the best medicine. I’ve seen firsthand the ways that a positive attitude can affect stress and healing, and with April being National Humor Month, I think this is a great time to pay a little extra attention to the funny moments in our lives. I know it might seem like humor has no place in the world of physical therapy. It’s true that some of the obstacles our patients are trying to overcome are painful, stressful, and sad, but that doesn’t mean these things can’t be supplemented by an uplifting outlook. Studies have shown that laughter decreases stress and promotes recovery. The mind is a powerful thing, and our attitude dictates a lot of what our bodies do, even if we may be unaware it’s happening. Humor doesn’t have to be all one-liners or slapstick comedy moments. We often find that the most inspiring humor arises from being able to see the laughable moments in our everyday lives. A longtime mentor of mine once told me that if I think I’m going to laugh about something in five years, then I might as well start laughing about it now. So that’s the way I try to live. It’s inevitable that unfortunate things will happen, but if I know I’ll eventually look back on a moment and laugh, then it’s not something that should contribute to my stress. That’s how humor can promote a healthy mindset. I’ll never forget one of those moments. About five years ago, we were in the process of moving into our current office, so I came in to set up all our laptops. The next morning, I returned, took a look around, and was pleased IF YOU’LL BE LAUGHING LATER ... THEN WHY NOT LAUGH RIGHT NOW?
to see that someone had cleaned everything up. The office looked great! But then I took a closer look. The laptops weren’t cleaned up — they had been stolen. My reaction after that realization, of course, was anger. I didn’t laugh right away. But what’s easy to laugh about now, which was pretty easy to laugh about just a few minutes after the fact, was the immediate reaction I had to discovering the laptops were gone. I had a moment of naivety when I assumed someone had cleaned them up, not stolen them. That’s something I was able to laugh about amidst the frustration of the situation. Laughable moments are important to find. When you’re going through physical therapy, no one can tell you how to feel, nor do they have the right to. While we may know how to physically help our patients, we can’t claim to always know what they’re feeling. But past experiences have shown us that if you can focus some of those feelings on the things in life that make you laugh, then you’ll decrease the stress that’s holding you back from recovery. One of my favorite quotes is, “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old; you grow old when you stop laughing.” I think this is true when it comes to healing too. Stress hampers recovery, and laughter reduces stress. So the solution seems simple: Find a way to laugh about something. It doesn’t have to be everything. But if you can crack a smile as you make your way through recovery, stress, or a sad moment, then you give yourself a lot more power to fight them.
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