My story begins with being a nurse. Growing up, I always wanted to follow in the footsteps of my mom and dad. Both were medical professionals. I felt that helping other people was my calling – so you could say that nursing was always in the cards for me.
Within nursing, I’ve worked in the OR, ER, home health, hospice, and much more! (I know what you’re thinking…”She couldn’t hold a job?”). It wasn’t that I felt more at home in one area than another; it was actually quite the opposite - each job was a great fit for me! I attributed this to one particular constant in my life: I LOVED learning. After mastering one skill, I was on to the next learning opportunity. This passion for knowledge eventually led me back to school to earn my master’s degree, where I discovered my true calling.
I was knee-deep in research when I stumbled upon a small paragraph in a journal. It was about a nurse researcher who had studied humor among American Indians, and I couldn’t believe it: this sounded like me! The fact that someone could make a career out of studying humor really opened my eyes to the possibilities. I’d found something that would satisfy my love for learning and improve people’s lives - truly a double whammy!
So, how does that lead to where I am now? Well, my breakthrough moment was during my first academic presentation. While animatedly sharing my research with the room, I found out that people thought I was smart AND funny! Who knew!? From there, the requests to hear me speak started to roll in, and next thing I knew, I had a big decision to make:
Option #1 – Do I go back to teaching?
Option #2 – Do I explore speaking? (I didn’t know what I was doing, but people enjoyed it!)
Since I love a good challenge, it only made sense to give Option #2 a shot!
After 20+ years of speaking, writing, and researching, I think I made the right decision!
In the last decade, I’ve come to consider myself a neurohumorist, or one who researches the neurobiology of humor and reports their findings to the general population. (I know what you’re thinking: ANOTHER neurohumorist!? Yes! ANOTHER one.)
I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it feels to pioneer this field. Humor is fundamental to your professional and personal life, and to be able to share the benefits of a little levity with high performers across the world is incredible.
I’m so excited to continue on this journey with you all!
Humor has the power to influence, connect and enlighten. Use it intentionally. You’ll be amazed at how it will enrich your life and the lives of those around you.
Follow me on social for my daily thoughts on humor, the brain, and adding a little laughter to your day!
Connect with Me!
Karyn Buxman is a TEDx speaker, author, and neurohumorist (one who researches the neurobiology of humor) who lives at the intersection of humor and the brain. A pioneer in the emerging science of applied humor, Karyn helps high performers expand their influence, strengthen their relationships, and boost their resilience. She’s one of only 43 women in the world to be inducted into the National Speakers Association's Speaker Hall of Fame, and she has inspired over 500 organizations – including NASA and the Million Dollar Round Table– to add a dose of levity to their daily lives.