Laugh when you can – it truly is the best medicine in life

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.” Audrey Hepburn

My grandfather was a quiet, intellectual and reserved man.

At family gatherings, he often sat silently in the background – listening to the endless stream of chatter and laughter coming from every direction. Note: when a bunch of Italians get together, we typically use our outdoor voices.

But in smaller social settings he was often more engaged, and at times, you’d even hear him laugh.

Once while visiting him and my grandmother, I was recounting a funny story, which sadly age has made me forget. But what I DO remember was his reaction.

He started laughing – not just a chuckle, but a hearty laugh from the pit of his stomach, accompanied by tears falling from his eyes. His laughter was so contagious, that both my grandmother and myself followed suit – laughing more at his infectious laughter than the actual story.

Though he’s been gone for many years now, I can still hear his laughter and smile. While he didn’t laugh often, when he did it was undoubtedly memorable.

Lord Byron once remarked, “Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”

I love to laugh – especially with cherished family and friends who can appreciate its benefits as “cheap medicine”.

Today, it can be challenging to find reasons to smile about.

And while I understand that reality, laughter is powerful. It can unite lost souls, inspire anyone who feels adrift, cheer up those in despair and reignite the passion in one’s heart.

We can’t always control what happens during our day, or for the duration of our life. But we can choose to laugh, rather than allowing ourselves to be bogged down in the hopelessness life sometimes provides us.

Here’s a suggestion from famed radio and television personality Art Linkletter:

“Keep a sense of humor. It doesn’t mean you have to tell jokes. If you can’t think of anything else, when you’re my age, take off your clothes and walk in front of a mirror. I guarantee you’ll get a laugh.”