Friday, January 25, 2013

Laughter in Recovery

I think I am going to start an Emotions Series. Eating disorders and emotions are so closely intertwined and the more I can begin to understand my own feelings, the more manageable my eating disorder becomes. I will do my best to sum up each week with an emotion and relate it to my recovery.

This past week, I have felt obnoxiously happy. Instead of being thrilled about this, I've actually been a little freaked out by it. When was the last time I felt this way? This isn't normal; this is new and different. Am I allowed to feel true joy? Am I allowed to simply be content with the things that are happen around me?

Last night I was lucky enough to spend the evening with my Grandma Markham, my mom's mom and my mom's two sisters. After dinner we were sitting around my mom's computer looking at a map of Mackinaw Island and reliving their annual girls weekend from last fall. Never in my life have I laughed so hard at a couple of old ladies. They are all such genuinely happy people and the feeling must have been contagious because I can't seem to stop smiling.
At one point my mom and Aunt Kathy were rolling on the ground laughing hysterically and before I knew it I had joined them. My cheeks and stomach quickly became sore and I lost my breath from laughing so hard. I felt like a little kid again. Laughter is contagious; just like a bad mood is contagious. I have learned how important it is to surround myself with people who make me smile and bring out the best of me in any given situation.

Here's a few of my favorite reasons why everyone should have a good laugh today:

  • Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
  • Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
  • Humor shifts perspective. Allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

 There have been many days during my recovery process that have seemed impossible, until I found a reason to laugh. Life is overwhelming sometimes but I'm finally starting to see and feel the benefits of surrounding myself with genuinely happy people. For most of my life I have taken these small, blissful moments for granted; but today I feel like my struggles have given me the opportunity to enjoy them that much more.

Happiness. Bliss. Uncontrollable laughter. Joy.

These are the things I am feeling today- it's nice to stop and take the time to notice it for a change.


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