Laughter Is the Best Medicine
“If we were told to imagine a healthy child, I believe most people would come up with similar images. The child would be strong and fit, dressed in clean clothes, and he or she would be free of any disease or disability. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) “, Health can be defined as “the state of complete spiritual, social, and physical well-being” for the individual. The aspects of health that are not physical, however, are often overlooked resulting in unaddressed health issues within our society. To combat this neglect Vista Verde Elementary School hosted a positive mental health conference for their junior high students. Students enjoyed talks from guest speakers, yoga classes, art lessons, and meditation. Children’s Health Initiative of Orange County’s AmeriCorps VIP, joined the team and led a workshop with the help of volunteers to teach students to control stress levels through the artistic expression of theater.
Art is a tool for individuals to express their own feelings and emotions on any event that they deem important in their lives. Art can be expressed in many forms: painting, drawing, theater, music, and dance. These forms allow the artist to convey their message out to the public, so that the public can interpret the message that is being sent out. Art is beneficial to for the health of the children because it gives them the opportunity to express their feelings. Artistic expression shared with peers encourages students to seek help when overwhelmed and surrounds them with the support group they need.
The drama workshop allowed students to momentarily escape their daily restraints. When children were asked to enact different scenarios, they took on the roles easily with a gush of creativity. From the amount of laughter and the never-ending line of children waiting to participate in the activities, it was easy to see their excitement in watching each other enact different scenarios and how truly surprised they were to see that their peers do not always perceive the world the same way they do. Everyone was able to celebrate each other’s uniqueness and previously hidden creativity. There were important lessons to be learned from the drama workshop, such as how to take yourself out of a situation and consider the alternatives, that there is more than one way to look at any situation, and that everyone is different. Vista Verde learned one thing for sure that day, laughter truly is the best medicine.”