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Bad Hair Days! The Healing Power of Laughter

BAD HAIR DAYS! The healing power of laughter

Ever had one of those days? The kind of day when your hair isn’t quite right no matter how much gel you use and the shirt you really wanted to wear has a huge stain from breakfast.

We all have days like this. Things don’t seem to work out as well as we had planned and it feels as though life is conspiring against us.

When you are trying to juggle your own needs along with the ever changing needs of a family member with ALS, these BAD HAIR DAYS may happen more often than you wish.   You try to juggle lots of different obligations but sometimes things just feel overwhelming.

What do you do? Do you let your funny hair or messy shirt determine how your day is going to be? Do you let out a big sigh, lower your shoulders and drag yourself off into your day or do you choose something lighter? What if you laughed at your spiky hair, put a sweater over your messy shirt, and danced off into your day, instead.

There is much research on the power of a positive attitude and the healing power of laughter. In the movie, Patch Adams, a doctor single handedly uses laughter, joy and creativity to transform the culture of a hospital. He puts on a funny red nose and creates giggles of glee in children with cancer. This movie is the true story of a doctor committed to bringing more fun and laughter into the lives of people with a wide variety of illnesses and challenges. He created an entire facility called the “Gesundheit Institute” (bless you!) that has medical staff of all types lining up for years to work there. Patients and family, alike, are encouraged to find the positive and playful side of life, despite their challenges.

Norman Cousins wrote several books on the mind body connection and called laughter “internal jogging.” He found that patients who watched 30 minutes of a funny sitcom every day for year had a significant increase in their immune function and in their feeling of wellbeing as well as a lowering of their blood pressure and fewer heart attacks. All that from a little laughter!

The benefits of joyful laughter and a playful, positive attitude are many:

  • They help you relax and improve your cognitive and problem solving ability.
  • They decrease stress so they improve many of the symptoms of being a very busy caregiver.
  • They increase the release of endorphins, the feel good hormones, so it makes your load feel lighter, your physical health better and helps manage depression.

So, how do you bring more laughter into your life in the midst of challenging circumstances? What if you simply don’t feel like laughing? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Look for a laughing yoga class where stretching and movement is combined with humour and an invitation to let go of your inhibitions and let your inner child appear.
  2. Play with the idea of changing your perspective and way of looking at your life if you can’t change your circumstance. Think playful and outside the box. If your current perspective as a caregiver has the name of “overtired”, what if you changed it to “Mickey Mouse” or “Puppy dog.” What if you played your caregiver role as a warm and playful puppy rather than an overworked spouse? Seem silly – great! It is meant to be.
  3. Use fun music, funny movies and TV shows, silly books, and light conversations with friends to get a much needed break.
  4. Move your body. Laughter and relaxation are a full body experience. If you move your body in an uninhibited way, you will find that your spirit will follow. When was the last time you ran through a sprinkler, played a funny joke on your spouse, or dared to dance uninhibitedly to your favourite oldies?





  1. Attitudes and perspectives are contagious so notice what you are spreading around. Are you dragging others down or are you letting them determine how you feel? Choose your attitude and choose the company you hang out with. Choose playfully!
  2. Treat yourself to something you loved as a child as this will rekindle those joyful childhood memories. Perhaps a banana split, a skinny dip in the lake or watching cartoons is what is called for.

And, as Charlie Chaplin said,” In order to laugh you have to play with your pain.”


© Written by Margaret H. Evans R.N. B.S.N. C.P.C.C.

Registered nurse, Certified professional life coach