"If you can laugh at it, You can survive it." Bill Cosby
It seems profoundly appropriate that Bea Arthur made her transition last week when it was still April. Last month was National Humor Month -- a time when we are reminded of how critical laughter and humor is for our well being. Bea Arthur's passing was exactly that. It was a great reminder of the humor and joy that she brought to people through her brilliant comedic skill. I found myself watching quite a few reruns of The Golden Girls last Saturday, which was actually one of my favorite TV shows growing up. The belly laughs elicited by watching these reruns took me right back to being 11 or 12 years old when I laughed in the same way watching this show in its original incarnation.
However, it is 25 years after those original guffaws and the world is a different place, in which we are dealing with significant stressors and challenges. At times these challenges themselves seem so absurd that I find myself laughing. Are we really looking at a possible, very serious flu pandemic that can appropriately be referred to as Pig's fly flu (bird/swine)? For a moment it is laughable, but unfortunately, the answer seems to be yes. Nonetheless, I experience these moments of laughter as a balm for my soul and would like to remind you to give yourself permission to do the same.
The challenges themselves can serve as a dire reminder of the need for laughter. Laughter has clinically proven to be effective in stress reduction. Experts say a good laugh relaxes tense muscles, speeds more oxygen into your system and lowers your blood pressure. Laughter has even been found to boost immune system functioning by raising T-cell count, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Also, laughter can act as a social lubricant creating a sense of connection among those who laugh together.
AND?!? It's free!
Simply take a look at the videos below and notice what you experience whether you are laughing directly or observing others experiencing the joy of laughter, particularly, those babies!
There is no shortage of resources for laughter in our culture. Simply give yourself permission to watch a few minutes of funny tv (note: I don't condone TV addiction), or get on the internet and google jokes and humor. You might also consider creating a social outing focused on humor or joy by going to a comedy show or movie with a group of friends.
I love engaging in dialogue with the readers of this blog, so please share how humor and laughter has been a source of stress release and healing in your life.
AND check out this upcoming option for "laughter outings":
You can learn more about Jason and his life and career coaching at www.jmannino.com.