Family · Wellness

Wellness Wednesday: Laughter is the Best Medicine

Did you know that sharing a good laugh can actually improve your health? The sound of laughter draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, strengthen your immune system, as well as diminish pain. As children, we used to laugh hundreds of times a day, but as adults life tends to be more serious and laughter less frequent. Laughter can improve your health, strengthen your relationships, increase your happiness—and even add years to your life. I had an experience last week that proved this point to me.

Last Thursday, Peyton’s third grade Honor Choir sang at the Melba Theater before a free showing of the live action version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

The Melba Theater is an art-deco style theater that originally opened in Batesville, AR in 1940. It was one of the first cinemascope theatres in Arkansas and is now considered the oldest still in existence in the state. Though it was closed in the early 1990’s, it was reopened in 2000 and ran “ successfully” until 2015 when it again closed its doors to the public. It was restored and reopened late this summer with support from the Main Street Batesville Foundation. The theater along with the entire downtown business district is included in the National Register of Historic Places.

This Christmas season the Melba (with help from a large list of area businesses) is giving the community the gift of a series of free Classic Christmas movies. Peyton’s choir sang before the showing as part of the pre-movie festivities. They were very excited about their first Christmas performance but let’s just say they weren’t quite as prepared as they would have liked. Or maybe they were just SO EXCITED about being a part of what I hope is going to be a town tradition from now on. Hopefully it was a good dress rehearsal before they sing at our State Capitol on December 16th.

This version of “The Grinch” is not exactly one of my favorite holiday films and we probably wouldn’t have gone to see it if Peyton hadn’t been singing. But we were excited about seeing it on the “big screen”. I must say it was a wonderful experience! The theater was packed full and children’s laughter echoed off the walls at the site of all the Grinch’s crazy antics. The sound of those little voices raised in laughter was heartwarming. It made me think about friends and family and community all enjoying the holiday season together. The movie was better than I remembered and I appreciated seeing it on the “big screen” but the memories I’ll carry with me throughout this holiday season and beyond will be of the absolute delight of the children captivated by the story and the sounds of their infectious laughter.

Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you with others, and keeps you grounded. With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh is an incredible way to support your physical and emotional well-being. They say that laughter is the best medicine and I’d say that last week’s theater experience was therapeutic for my soul.

If you live in the area and haven’t been to the Melba yet this Christmas season, there is still time. Please check their schedule and treat yourself to a little Christmas cheer.   If you don’t live nearby, I hope you check your local listings to see if your community has a similar tradition.

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