By Michael Ketterhagen, PhD
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
-Franklin D Roosevelt
Our time is a very challenging one, especially for people on the journey toward happiness and peace. It is quite challenging to even the spiritually-oriented or the religiously-oriented because it seems as though the only remedy for all the fear and pain associated with the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) situation is praying or meditating.
Prayer and meditation are very important remedies in our current situation. Both are extremely powerful because they set us into the right-relationship with God. Yet our fear-laden, monkey mind often has a hard time developing our awareness of the Divine Source of Life within us.
I have found another remedy for our sadness, worry, fear and unhappiness. It just takes a little will power to act differently. All we need to do is say “Ha” out loud, over and over again. Even when we don’t want to be happy, it makes us happy and for me I begin to break into laughter.
A story will help me explain.
Every morning, before the schools closed, I took a young pre-teen to middle school. She would enter my car with a scowl on her face. It didn’t really matter what the reason for the scowl was. She was generally unhappy!
I would ask her how she was and she would grunt at me. I would tell her that animals grunted and I wanted to know what she was feeling in human words. She would often have a hard time even saying “good” or “bad.” She definitely did not know feeling words, like “sad,” “unhappy,” “concerned,” “content,” or “happy” and how they felt in her body. She would usually say, “I don’t know.”
Eventually, after offering many feeling words, I would find out what she was feeling. It usually was some type of negative feeling due to her fear of the bullies at school or the fight she had with her mom about getting up in time for school.
I then pulled rank and ordered her to say “Ha.” Sometimes it would take a lot of pushing and cajoling to get her to repeat after me, “Ha.” Eventually she repeated “Ha” after me. I would then say, “Ha. Ha.” She would repeat it, “Ha. Ha.” I would say, “Ha. Ha. Ha.” She would repeat, “Ha. Ha. Ha.” This went on for a while. Then, I would say, “Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!” and burst into a laugh because I could not contain myself. She couldn’t either.
Almost spontaneously, the two of us were laughing up a storm in the car on our way to school. It was ecstatic! I am almost starting to laugh now.
After we paused our laugh, I asked her, “Do you feel better?” She did and I did, too.
We both discovered that a simple “Ha,” even when we don’t want to feel happy or fearless or positive about life, made us happy and gave us the power to deal with whatever was going to happen.
So, this young pre-teen now had a tool to use when things got tough in her life. I’ve had to reinforce that almost daily, but she now knows that she can be in control of all the sources of fear in her life, if she wants.
That’s all we need do, as well. I encourage you to try this. Just say, “Ha.” Then, “Ha, Ha.” Then “Ha, Ha, Ha,” and notice the change in the chemical flow of your emotions. Your fear will decrease dramatically. That’s what a little “Ha!” can do.
Okay, now! Repeat after me! “Ha.”
“Ha. Ha. Ha.”
“Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!.....................”