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Humor and Healing: Laughing To Maintain Perspective

Humor is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not; and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs. Christopher Morley

Whether you're dealing with a chronic health condition like diabetes or heart disease, are a caregiver for someone with those conditions, or are just trying to make it through life with less stress and more fun, humor helps. At times when we feel stressed out or overwhelmed (an exceptional set of circumstances I like to call a Typical Friday Afternoon!) it can be difficult to maintain a realistic set of proportion about what's going on in our lives. All of our problems and challenges become enlarged: all of a sudden, the fact that you've lost your phone charger is as catastrophic an event as you've ever experienced.

Rationally, you know that's not true. Losing a phone charger probably doesn't even  rate on your personal list of the 101 Most Terrible Things That Have Happened. It might not even be in the top 1,001! But when we're highly stressed and overwhelmed, it's easy to forget that. Our emotional resources are already so overtaxed that one more stressor is enough to tip us right over the edge. If you've ever found yourself sobbing over a lost phone charger the way you'd cry during Bambi, you know what I'm talking about.

What do you do in those situations?

Step one is to try and recognize the moment where things get out of whack. Practicing mindfulness and awareness of our emotional state is an essential technique in the holistic management of chronic illness. When you feel your emotions escalating way more than they need to, given the circumstances (and YOU are the only valid judge of this criteria!) it's time to stop what you are doing and take a five minute humor break.

During that five minutes, do something that makes you laugh - or at least smile.  Check out your favorite funny websites. Call a humor hotline. Practice some laughter yoga techniques. Spend five minutes enjoying humor. You'll feel better!

At the end of those five minutes, your phone charger will still be lost - but you'll find that you're much better prepared to deal with searching for it. Laughter restores and promotes emotional balance, in part by creating physical changes within our bodies. The act of laughing lowers blood pressure, increases circulation, and even helps minimize blood sugar spikes. Enjoying humor is a great, all-natural way to bring perspective back into your day and put your body back in balance.

PS: Still looking for your phone charger? Try your jacket pocket. That's almost always where I find mine! What's the strangest place you've ever found your phone charger?

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