Editor gets the giggles
By Philip Devitt
Last Saturday, I was able to release my stress and anxiety, stop worrying about homework, and for a fleeting moment, enjoy life to its fullest. To accomplish this, all I had to do was laugh.
I was trying to unwind after a busy, eventful week of school and work, when I came across a Saturday Night Live rerun on TV. The cast of the late night sketch comedy show was midway through a scene when suddenly, one of the actors fumbled with his words.
As a loyal SNL viewer, I was not surprised by this slipup. There were at least two or three in every show, which is understandable considering it is live and there are no second chances.
Something was different this time, though. Instead of the cast regaining composure and finishing the scene like they normally would, this time, they all broke out into uncontrollable laughter. Some of them tried suppressing their giggles, but to no avail. Tears streamed down their cheeks as they felt torn between finishing the scene and succumbing to the silly mood in the room.
I watched in fascination as the cast struggled to hold themselves together. I was totally transfixed by the unanticipated humor. When they laughed, so did I, and it made me feel wonderful. It was as though there was nothing greater in the world than the laughter that engrossed me, and made my face hurt.
What amazed me the most about the sketch was that the cast took an awkward, potentially disastrous situation and had fun with it. Once they were well into the sketch, they made no secret about their laughter, and that is what ended up making it even funnier than it would have been if it were flawless.
I had heard the cliché "Laughter is the best medicine" many times before, but watching the sketch helped me realize how true it really is. When the show was over, I felt calmer and less tense. I felt rejuvenated and ready to take on my work. The stress was gone.
When the show ended, I went to bed thinking of a news article I once read about the health benefits of a good sense of humor. The article mentioned that laughter lowers blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, and even relieves stress by easing muscle tension. I did not believe it until then.
I am not trying to say that I am as stern as a bitter old man every day of the week. I make it a point to laugh about something every day. But it had been a while since I laughed the way I did that Saturday night. The laughter was unstoppable. I lost all control of it. I was at its mercy.
When I do my schoolwork now, I think back to the night I laughed like I never laughed before. I do not let stress get to me in the way it used to. I stop even the slightest anxious or restless feelings from circling through my head, and I try to laugh instead.
During the times when stress is at its highest and it feels like things could not get any worse, it helps to step back and make light of our situation. Facing stressful situations with a lighthearted, care-free attitude can help to ease unnecessary tension in our lives. By ‘care-free,’ I do not mean that we should forget about our work. We will always have responsibilities, and without a healthy amount of stress, we would lack the motivation to do anything.
But to help us understand that our problems will pass and are never as big as they seem, sometimes, all we need is a good laugh.
© Philip Devitt