Catching up with Karyn

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....

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A Day in the Life of Diabetes

It's time to show the world what Diabetes looks like! I'm really excited about the American Diabetes Association's project, A Day in the Life of Diabetes, to demonstrate the increasing impact diabetes has on our families and communities nationwide.  Successfully managing diabetes can be a herculean task, making what might seem like an otherwise ordinary life rather extraordinary.

You are invitedto share a personal image, on the Association’s Facebook page, representing what “A Day in the Life of Diabetes” means to them. The image can be a picture of themselves, someone they care about, or otherwise represent how the disease impacts their lives.  The image will then make up a larger mosaic image that will embody the message of “A Day in the Life of Diabetes.”

To encourage individuals to share photos of A Day in the Life of Diabetes on Facebook, CVS/pharmacy® will donate $1 to the American Diabetes Association for every photo/image uploaded,...

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What's So Funny About Diabetes: How Humor Helps Caregivers

I was on my way to speak to a group of diabetes educators at a regional hospital when I overheard two interns talking in the hallway. They were watching an elderly gentleman, who was moving slowly down the all, and trying to figure out exactly what the man's complaint might be.

“I’ll be you $5 he’s had a hemorrhoidectomy," one intern said.

The other intern did not agree. “No way. He’s suffering from arthritis.”

They both approached the man to inquire.

“Why are you moving so slowly, Sir?” asked one intern.

The old man replied, “My slippers are too large.”

Diabetes and the Family Caregiver

Being a caregiver - whether you're a health care professional or a family member or friend - can be challenging sometimes.   We like to think we know what's going on. After all, we work hard about being a good caregiver. This is especially true for people who care for someone who has diabetes. Over the years, I've spoken with...

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What's So Funny About Diabetes: Laughter Yoga

Generally, I don't have a hard time convincing people to add the healing power of humor to their diabetes management routine. Unlike diet and exercise, laughing is actually fun. (Yes, I know there are people who will tell you there's nothing more fun than an invigorating spin class. I am not one of those people.) Still, there are times when it seems like there's nothing in your life worth laughing about.

My friends, this is what yoga laughter was made for. I encourage you to check laughter yoga out. If you ever need to put a smile on your face in a hurry, try this simple exercise from What's So Funny About Diabetes?: A Creative Approach to Coping with Your Disease. It's one of my absolute favorites:

Gradient Laughter

Start by smiling—then slowly begin to laugh with a gentle chuckle. Increase the intensity and volume of the laugh until you’ve achieved a hearty laugh. Then gradually bring the laugh back down to a smile again.

It sounds simple, right? Just try it. It's okay...

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Diabetes Awareness Month: Making Time for Humor

As we celebrate Diabetes Awareness Month, I'd like to share a few thoughts on making time for humor. We all live extremely busy lives, balancing careers, families, social lives and managing our health care. Days go by at light speed. We're always on the go. One minute we're running here, the next we're going there, with a million things to do. Our to-do lists are six miles long, on average, and every item never gets crossed off. At this pace, entire days can go by when there's just no time to laugh. Those days add up, and before you know it, you're looking at weeks, even months, without humor.

Don't believe me? Ask yourself this. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? For most people, it's been a while. But as I explain in What's So Funny About Diabetes?, people with diabetes enjoy significantly better health when they laugh regularly and often. There are multiple ways humor helps us achieve effective diabetes management. Something as simple as laughing at your...

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Election Day Humor

To err is human. To blame someone else...that's politics!

Here we are, at long last - Election Day 2012!  It's your chance to exercise your right to vote. Please do! To put a smile on your face before you head to the polls, here's some Election Day Humor:

If Obama wins, I will leave the country. If Romney wins, I will leave the country. This is not a political joke, I just want to travel.

The biggest problem with political jokes is that they get elected!

Politicians are like diapers.They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.

What's So Funny About Diabetes: A Note About Political Humor
Political humor is intensely popular - just ask Jon Stewart! Jokes about President Obama or his opponent, Mitt Romney, work well for late night TV stars - but they can be pretty problematical in person. Etiquette experts tell us that it's best to avoid all humor about politics, religion, and any other contentious subject. Humor advocates, myself included, think that political humor...

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What's So Funny About Diabetes: Diabetes Awareness Month Starts Today!

An anxious woman called her doctor. "I'm diabetic and I'm afraid I've had too much sugar today," she said.

"Are you light-headed? " the nurse asked.

"No," the caller answered, "I'm a brunette".

Are you ready? November 1st marks the beginning of Diabetes Awareness Month! For the next 30 days, we're going to be featuring jokes, cartoons, and all types of diabetes-themed  humor, designed to make you laugh.  Laughter has a vital role to play in your diabetes management. When you laugh, your body responds in many ways: lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, and minimizing post-meal blood sugar spikes.  Enjoying humor is lots of fun - and it can actually make you feel better!

Humor helps:

  • If you have Type 1 Diabetes
  • If you have Type 2 Diabetes
  • If you have Gestational Diabetes
  • If you don't have diabetes at all - but you love someone who does!

In What's So Funny About Diabetes?: A Creative Approach to Coping with Your Disease you can read about how humor can help...

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Is Trying To Be Happy Stressing You Out?

There's an important article by Brock Bastian, just now appearing in The Conversation, entitled "Is the promotion of happiness making us sad?" If you're living with diabetes, heart disease, or any other chronic condition, I'd really encourage you to take a look at it.

What you'll find there is an examination of the pursuit of happiness. Could anything be more American? We've even enshrined the words in our Declaration of Independence. We're a people that wants to be happy.If we're not happy, there's a tendency to pathologize that state - treating negative emotions as something that needs to be addressed with medication or therapy. Tremendous social pressure is placed on individuals to act as if they were happy, even if they're not. We're told to smile, and the whole world smiles with you.

Yet it turns out that the unrelenting pursuit of happiness, to an extent that it crowds out any other emotional state, such as sorrow or anxiety, can be counterproductive. Bastian's research...

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The Neurohumor Notebook: Getting Serious About Playtime

Humor is essential for effective diabetes management. Whether you have Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, or have been told you're pre-diabetic, you want to have humor in your routine, right along with testing your sugar and your morning workout. Consider your time laughing and playing as much a part of your diabetes management as counting carbs and making sure you have testing supplies. The British Psychological Society recently published an article looking at the way mothers and children play together. Play can accomplish some really important things. It is by playing that we develop our creative imagination and build the ability to solve complex and challenging problems. Additionally, play elevates the spirit and provides a joyful experience, critical for our ongoing emotional stability and well-being. But are all types of play equally beneficial? Does the type of play activity we engage in and the toys we use to play with impact the positive impact play can have in our life?...

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What's So Funny About Diabetes: Keeping Perspective

"Diabetes screening may not lower overall death rate!" the headline screams, reporting the latest insights from a 10-year British study.  This is the type of headline that highlights the value of humor. It's way too easy to get depressed when all the messaging you hear is negative and down-beat. This takes a toll on your emotional health, obviously, and it can be bad news for your physical well-being.

Feelings of despair, hopelessness, fear, and frustration can manifest as cardiac problems. Sustained emotional stress has long been identified as a factor in cardiac disease. As you know, as a person with diabetes, you're already at higher risk for heart disease, and more serious heart disease, than a person who doesn't have diabetes.  (You may have heard the term Diabetic Heart Disease. You can learn more about that here.)

Humor and Healing: Understanding Sarcasm and Dark  Humor

You can use humor to help counter the feelings of depression and anxiety that can arise...

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