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Humor Makes the Unbearable More Bearable

    Laughter can make a positive difference in our lives, helping us to find balance in our world. Stress is all around us. Life doesn�t always go our way. Problems seem insurmountable and sometimes we make predictions that things will get worse. Our minds focus on the negative and we see our lives tumbling out of our control.

    Laughter can be great medicine. When I was in the hospital after my spinal cord injury, and friends came in to see me, they helped me laugh and take my mind off of my troubles. My attention was directed away from my pain. When friends helped me to see humor in the situation, my thoughts shifted. I laughed when someone pointed out the irony of my injury. It seemed funny when I realized that as a horticulturist I got crushed by a falling tree. I love trees! I then started to tell other visitors and nurses to make them laugh too. Spreading laugher certainly was more enjoyable for me than crying about my losses.

    Some of us have a heightened sense of humor; others are rarely able to see the non-serious element in a situation. Imagine that you had magical eyeglasses to look through that enabled you to see the humor in intense situations. We need the influence of humor to help us see our world a little more positively.

    Physiologically, a hearty laugh is good for us. Our lungs and heart get a mild workout. Our muscles relax and endorphins are produced. Tension is reduced. Circulation is improved.

    Psychologically a good laugh can shift our perspective and help us to see the situation as less daunting. Comedy relieves pain and lessons our worries. Humor positively affects attitude. It can rescue us from disappointments and bring a smile back to our faces. Humor short circuits the cycle of depression. As we laugh, we temporarily detach ourselves from our troubles. If we look for humor in our times of crisis, we replace despair with hope.

    Disappointments trigger the blues. When life is viewed with a sense of humor, trauma tends to pass more quickly. Soon we return to the peak of wellness. Mentally healthy individuals accept unexpected setbacks as a part of life. They don�t waste time and effort worrying that their circumstance is not ideal. They simply make the best of their situation. They think about their problems, make decisions and act. Whatever the consequences, they know they did their best at the time.

    If you are going through a particularly stressful time in your life, think about how you will someday look back at this time and find something funny about it. Yes, someday, you�ll laugh about it. Something you or someone else said or did at the time didn�t seem funny, but later, you�ll see the humor in it. As Steve Allen said, �Tragedy plus time equals comedy.�

    A sense of humor can be enhanced by surrounding yourself with funny things that make you laugh: books, magazines, pictures, cartoons, cards, toys, hats, t-shirts. You can also expand your sense of humor by going places and doing things that make you laugh. See a funny movie or play. Go to a comedy club. Watch a funny television show. Play a game with a group of friends. Notice how your mood changes and your spirit is renewed.

    Seeing the funny side of life is a great asset to have. You are more likely to work through the inevitable bad times in your life. Life does come with dramatic moments. A humorous perspective can help us through the pain and suffering and enable us to live joyously even through the worst days of our lives. Finding humor in any situation will help you to be resilient, more able to absorb the shocks in life.

    � Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.

    Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. is a speaker and writer. To book her to speak at a conference, or to subscribe to her free monthly inspirational column, go to: Rosemarie Speaks

    Rosemarie conducts presentations that bring out the best in people, to help them achieve goals, and take charge of their lives. Rosemarie helps her audiences discover their inner strength. Her core message is focused on sharing information, strategies, and life lessons that provide the tools to LIVE LIFE WITH CONVICTION.

    She is the author of �Take Back Your Life!� and is Ms. Wheelchair Ohio 2004.

    Rosemarie would like to receive your comments about the impact her article has made on your life. Write her at: Rosemarie@RosemarieSpeaks.com