Laugh for no reason? You just need to be willing to try. Participants in nurse  Patty Freier’s grief seminar at Childers Place had lost spouses, children, a brother or a sister and did just that. They got silly, dropped most inhibitions, let it go and gave themselves permission to laugh. “I liked it. I had one of those days where it was hard to stop crying, and I haven’t had one of those in awhile,” said Dianna Price after they were finished. “This was really good for me. Your mental outlook begins to change.”

By Jon Mark Beilue, Amarillo Globe-News

Laughter Yoga Grief Seminar

Let’s see: In this audience participation exercise, there was the English Royalty Laugh, the Cowboy Laugh, the Jackpot Laugh, the Salsa Dance Laugh, the Crying Laugh, the Airplane Laugh, the Chicken Laugh, the Aloha Laugh and a few others I probably missed.

“We just scratched the surface,” said Patty Freier.

At the end, some 50 in attendance – about 45 of them women – laughed, howled and hooted for two minutes. It was two minutes, because Freier challenged them to do it, then timed them to make sure they did. And they finished, some with tears in their eyes.

This was no set at a comedy club. It was a grief seminar at Childers Place hosted by Hospice Care of the Southwest. It was the third of four events started a year ago to show the benefits of laughter, especially mirthful laughter, as Freier refers to it, in helping with the pangs in a grief journey.

“Tonight is different than anything you’ve experienced before, so buckle your seat belts,” said Danny Mize, bereavement coordinator. “Patty said to make sure you’re finished eating, because she doesn’t want anyone choking.”

Laughter is the best medicine

Patty Freier is the education nurse specialist and chest pain center coordinator at Covenant Heart and Vascular Institute in Lubbock, but her passion is that of a certified laughter yoga leader.

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