Headed to Chiberia: How Humor Helps Us Face Stressful Weather

humor is power laughter Jan 07, 2014

Later this week, I'm appearing in Chicago, where things have been, as you may have heard, a little chilly lately. Just the thought of confronting sub-zero temperatures and the need to take precautions against frostbite is enough to stress this California girl out - but what can you do? Work still needs to get done, even when the weather's not cooperating.

Humor is power. It helps us build emotional resiliency, preparing us to better face things like -45 degree weather. I believe this. The research supports this. I tell people of all types - business leaders, nurses, health care systems administrators, students, teachers - how to use humor to prepare them to tackle even the most challenging thing.

But there's just one problem. I couldn't think of a single funny thing about extreme cold weather. Perhaps I had a frozen funny bone. It happens.

That's when I turned to my trusty friend, the Internet. At times like this, when you really need a laugh, Google Image Search is truly your friend. Searching for "funny so cold" reveals:

I'll admit it. I laughed out loud.

And the instant I laughed, I felt a little better. Some of the anxiety about subjecting my body to sub-zero temperatures slid off of my shoulders.

Humor shared is humor increased. So I sent that image to a friend who'd been patiently listening to my angst about the trip to Chiberia...I mean Chicago.

Her reply?

"That's so cute I can't bear it!"

Now I was groaning - but just at her pun, and not with worry or dread. My funny bone had apparently started thawing out.

I share this story with you in case you wind up facing a day full of extreme weather, whether that's frigid cold, sweltering heat, or worst of all, election season. Each weather event is going to require its own unique set of preparations and coping skills - but laughter will always make it more bearable.

If the laughs aren't coming automatically (and sometimes they don't!) go looking for them.  Scour social media, call your funniest friend, watch a comedy: it doesn't matter what makes you laugh: what matters is that you're laughing!

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