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Through the Laughter. What makes you Laugh? In 5 Minutes or Less

December 2021

By: Dr. Lisa M. Coffey


I have very vivid memories of my father's laughter. When something struck him as funny, he had a chuckle that came from his belly like Santa Clauses' Ho Ho Ho! My dad always found time to laugh, smile, and give his children love despite his circumstances. This time of the year, I reflect on so many memories of my dad; Christmas was his favorite holiday, and winter was his favorite season. As I decorated my home this season, I sang Donnie Hathaway songs and thought of my dad with teary eyes and a thankful heart. Memories of him remind me that no matter the circumstance, take time to enjoy laughter.

Movie Therapy

In 1993, Mrs. Doubtfire, a comedy-drama, was released and became an award-winning movie. Mrs. Doubtfire was one of my fathers' favorite films and the reason he enjoyed so much laughter. The movie chronicled a divorced couple's co-parenting behaviors, which led to the father receiving little to no time with his children because of irresponsible parenting behaviors. Robin Williams, the Oscar-winning actor/comedian, played the father figure. The father, Daniel, dressed up as an elderly British woman, Mrs. Doubtfire, and interviewed as a housekeeper/nanny for his three children Daniel, in disguise, became the housekeeper/nanny. In a comedic way, Mrs. Doubtfire captured the hearts of his children, his x-wife, and Robin Williams through his portrayal of Mrs. Doubtfire captured the spirit of his audience, if you have never watched the movie, search Netflix and enjoy.

The movie is full of comedic moments from begging to end, and my father laughed hysterically every time he watched the movie. Mrs. Doubtfire debuted during a time in which my father was facing so much adversity. My parents' 22-year marriage had fallen apart, my father's job of 20 plus years with US Steel had come to an end, my father was re-discovering himself and strugglled to find meaningful employment. Yet, he found enjoyment in the simplest things, a movie like Mrs. Doubtfire. There was no evidence of stress in his eyes, facial expressions, or body language every time he watched that movie. Instead, he laughed uncontrollably despite his circumstances.

Rest, Refresh, and Renew

In my book, iDid and uCan 2, I share this quote by Ralph Marston[1], "Rest when you're weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work." Taking time away from the stressors in your life is necessary to find balance. We must safeguard our time and space to rejuvenate our thinking. Family, life, work, stress, and relationships all affect our wellness. Taking personal time and space can help deflate the feelings of being overwhelmed or off track. Take the time to recharge, when necessary. In my fathers' case, recharging meant watching Mrs. Doubtfire over and over again and enjoying the laughter. Through the laughter, my father was able to calm his spirit, devise a plan, and set the goals in motion without overwhelming feelings. I must have watched Mrs. Doubtfire twenty times with him. I know that movie was his go-to mechanism to relieve his stress and I find myself watching the movie every year.

I, too, fall off track. Lately, my writing has taken a back seat to work, coaching, and the rigors of life. For example, while writing my 12-part series on athletics, my brain stopped. I had so much to say but no time to press the keystrokes to deliver my messages. Instead, I had to take time away to rest, relax, rejuvenate, and safeguard my personal space. I spent some much-needed time creating to free my mind in my art studio. Finally, I'm back and writing to deliver those messages. Stay tuned!

Key Takeaways:

Essential to a stable and robust foundation is our physical and emotional wellbeing. Otherwise, the foundation is compromised. So, take the time to detach from the stressors in your life for a moment and enjoy the laughter. What makes you smile? What makes you happy? What makes you Laugh? Once you answer those questions, use those items as a go-to mechanism to relieve your stress.

[1] Ralph Marston is an author and publisher of The Daily Motivator's online motivation platform. Through, this platform Marston shares motivational and inspirational messages with his followers.



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