The Importance of Laughter to Whole Health

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Feel Whole Challenge Day 16: Make Someone Laugh

Our son was born with left side hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy set on by a series of strokes he had as a baby that hinder him from being able to use the left side of his body to the fullest potential. We knew this about our amazing little boy when we adopted him from China in 2017, and planned for a long road of recovery, therapy and more.

What we didn’t know is that he also had a rare brain disease called MoyaMoya, which shrinks the blood vessels in his brain and was restricting oxygen from getting to him. This was the likely cause of the strokes and he was going to need bilateral brain surgery to move a couple of major arteries in his brain in order to compensate for the lack of blood flow.

At the same time, we were seeing him have a smaller form of seizure called infantile spasms at an alarming pace; they were keeping him from truly developing into the little boy we were praying he would become. His eyes had a blank, empty look. He could only grunt to communicate. And the only way to get him to snap out of it was to make him laugh.

They say laughter is the most powerful medicine. And after the last almost 2 years with our little boy, I am starting to believe it. We tickle and wrestle and are just plain silly together until he is rolling with gigantic belly laughs that fill up the room. It’s impossible to not get caught up in it and begin to laugh uncontrollably ourselves! And we see him coming to life in the midst of all the craziness and hardships.

His default is no longer a blank stare, but an automatic smile from the moment he wakes up. He recognizes us and wants to play with us. He will laugh at the drop of a hat. All it takes is a look or singing a silly song to get him going.

He is progressing so beautifully. After his two brain surgeries this past fall, the moment he woke up and could open his eyes, he looked up at us and guess what the first thing he did was? He laughed. He wanted to play. He was going to be okay and it was like he was trying to let us know.

This simple medicine of laughter wasn’t just healing him. It was healing us too. Sometimes the answer to your anxiety and fear isn’t just to try thinking better thoughts or pretend everything is okay right now. Sometimes, you just gotta laugh.

The opinions in this blog have been written by a sponsored guest blogger, who is not an AdventHealth employee. This material is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment and/or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

Headshot of Writer Stephen Miller

Writer: Stephen Miller

Stephen is a pastor, musician, author and speaker. When he’s not working on his music, he’s at home with his wife, Amanda, and their seven children. Stephen strives to spread the word of God every day. He travels the world to teach and lead worship while sharing his stories and life lessons.

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