Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Laughter IS the best medicine...

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.  ~e.e. cummings

Laughter is an instant vacation.  ~Milton Berle
Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

I grew up laughing. I probably remember laughing more then I actually did as a young child, but in my memory I remember spending a lot of time laughing and joking about things. As I grew up with my brothers, and went to college, my laughter became more and more of a staple in life, and I intentionally tried to incorporate it into daily living. I must confess, sometimes my laughter is not all that appropriate, and i don't always have control of when it comes out (I often use it as a defense mechanism of sorts). However, I'm so very glad that we, as humans, can have a sense of humor.

So, as you might imagine, when I found out that "sense of humor" was one of the 17 components of wellness in Myers, Sweeney, & Witmer's Wheel of Wellness Model, I was quite pleased. They describe a sense of humor as: "Ability to laugh appropriately at oneself, ability to laugh appropriately at others, having the capacity to see contradictions and predicaments of life in an objective manner such that one can gain new perspectives, ability to use humor to cope with one’s own difficulties, enjoying inconsistencies and idiosyncrasies of life" (from Counseling for Wellness). 
I think sometimes we can take our situations in life too seriously, and we feel that it is inappropriate to joke about it. Of course things need to be done in an appropriate matter, but we should be laughing more then we do in life. Notice that they say laughing APPROPRIATELY at others (not inappropriately making fun of them!!). 

When I was in grad school, I got stressed very easily, especially during my first semester counseling. In order to help with this, I decided to create a "Laughter" folder on my computer to bookmark websites that I knew would make me laugh. At the end of a day, I could spend 10 minutes looking at sites that I knew would make me laugh, and this decreased my stress tremendously. Below I've included a few things that are guaranteed to make me laugh in life:

6. Any of your favorite comic strips
7. TV Shows: Friends, The Office, 30 Rock
8. Conversations with my brothers or friends

So, i try to bring as much laughter into my day as I possibly can, because I believe that laughter is good for the soul, and can greatly improve our mental health. 
What do you do to increase your sense of humor? Tweet me or leave a comment if you have any other great sites to check out:) Happy laughing! 

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