“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”
- The Dalai Lama XIV
It has been a trying week for our nation. In light of the tragedies that we have experienced in Boston and Texas, I reiterate the importance of connecting with those you love. (See Holidays and Hurricanes from last November.) It seems that through tragedy we do strengthen the bond that we have with others and experience a renewed sense of community.
What else can you do during weeks like this? Cry. I recently heard that tears contain toxins that your body flushes out as you cry. It turns out that a man named William Frey was the first one to discover this. He found that emotional tears (as opposed to other kinds, like those we get from onions) contain the most amount of stress chemicals like leucine-enkephalin and prolactin. Crying also has been linked to lowering heart rate and the production of endorphins. It’s a wonderful thought. I like to think that it is not random that crying “feels” good. Our body—knowing always what we need—is doing something purposeful, not wasteful
On the other side of that coin though is the healing power of laughter. Today was a markedly gloomy day for me compared to the previous 2 months or so. Let’s just say I purged a lot of leucine-enkephalin and prolactin today. At one point while in the car, something crossed my mind that made me chuckle out loud despite my melancholy. I noticed that it felt good. So I tried to think of something else that I knew would make me laugh. So I thought of this:
For some reason it just always makes me laugh. That laguh felt good too. I wanted another and so I recalled one my own recent blog posts, It’s Not That Serious. Then I wanted another laugh and another. I’ve heard of people doing “laughter yoga” and even though I have difficulty picturing a group laughing session, I can see why laughter would be a part of a wellness regiment. Laughter is good for your chemical makeup. Like crying, it produces endorphins. It also relieves muscle tension, strengthens your heart, and boosts your immune system.
After crying and laughing and having a long (and long overdue) phone call with a loved one, all my problems weren’t solved. The world wasn’t nicer. The future wasn’t clearer. Boston wasn’t healed. Those lost in Texas weren’t returned to their loved ones. I hadn’t reconciled all my questions with God. But, I was calmer. My mind wasn’t spinning like it had been most of the day. I felt loved. I felt more hopeful.
So don’t forget to let yourself cry if you need to. Yes, even you men! Let your body clean itself out. And then don’t forget to laugh. Can’t think of anything to laugh about? Then find your nearest Laughter Yoga class. And if all that doesn’t work, call someone you love and let the mysterious and beautiful human connection heal you a little bit. It will most likely heal them too.
Have a beautiful Sunday. As always, I am so thankful for YOU.