Humor Me, Please!

Humor Me, Please!


Humor Me, Please 
By Patricia Older

          "Laughter is free, legal, has no calories, no cholesterol, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients, and is 
          absolutely safe." Dale Irvin

          Between the home and office, I was running ragged. My friend Sandy, who had been patiently listening 
          to me complain about the housework piling up, suggested I shouldn't let the stress of it all get me 
          down. Grinning, she added, "I would let the mess build up, call the police, report a burglary, and let 
          them come and dust for fingerprints." Her "joke" had us both laughing and the housework no longer 
          seem so overwhelming.

          Research shows the way we handle stress impacts everything in our lives from our relationships to our 
          health. It has been connected to, among other things, heart disease, chronic fatigue, and low 
          self-esteem. "During menopause it is important we learn to recognize the different stresses in our 
          lives," says Karen Nash, director and lead trainer of Nash Associates, a motivational training firm, "We 
          need to be more in touch with ourselves, and recognize how much stress we can deal with 
          comfortably. The next step is to be assertive and say, 'this is too much for me now, I need to put that 
          off to do this.' The final step is the follow through."

          According to Karen, humor helps in re-claiming ourselves and promotes a healthier lifestyle. Laughter 
          is medicine for the soul. It oxygenates the system, stimulates endorphins, and promotes T-cell 
          production. It exercises 15 muscles in the face, releases tension, and increases communication. By 
          using humor and laughter in our daily lives, we can balance our stress levels and reward our physical, 
          mental, and spiritual selves. But, like any other skill, humor takes practice to master.

          Karen offered several tips:

          * Re-frame your thinking. Don't look at stresses in the same frame of mind. Next time you are in a 
          traffic jam, try to view your life as a situation comedy, or just ask yourself, "Okay, when does the fun 

          * Put humor into strategic places in your life. A sign on your desk which reads "It is hard to be a 
          Monday person in a Friday world", or make a point to say the worst joke of the day three times to 
          remember it, then share it. Pin up funny cartoons near your computer or workspace, send others to 

          * Look around for humor. Spend some time browsing through the humorous card section at the store. 
          Watch a sitcom you especially enjoy. Read the newspapers, church bulletin, or newsletters for slips of 
          the pen. Look for humor in road signs.

          * Don't take life too seriously. Fly a kite. Take a walk. When you make a mistake, say "Now I'm 
          smarter." Share a smile. Karen says, "Attitude is everything. If you realize the power of your own 
          attitude and your thoughts over your behavior ... you'll really appreciate how important humor is."

          Copyright 1996 by Patricia Older - Reprinted with permission 
          Write to Patricia at with comments or questions. 
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Here's To Your Health by Caryl  Frawley 
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