Catching up with Karyn

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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Does Humor Really Make Coping With Cancer Easier?

This morning, I read a powerful piece in the Chicago Tribune Written by Liz Brown, When Funny Business Crosses The Punch Line is a intimate, personal examination of the role humor had in Liz's life as she supported her sister Lynn through her battle with breast cancer.

What's fascinating here is that even though Liz admits she often 'veers toward humor' when coping with life's challenges, there were times - especially after her sister passed away -  where the funny t-shirts and jokes provoked emotions other than amusement.She responded more favorably to some humor than others, and noted that her enjoyment was related in part to who was sharing the humor.  A funny t-shirt worn by a woman who survived breast cancer provoked some smiles; a sign held by a teenaged boy who appeared to be a relatively disinterested party, not so much.

Humor and Healing: Understanding the Power of the Bond

This is a good illustration of how important the bond between individuals becomes when...

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What's So Funny About Invisible Disabilities?

On Thursday, September 27, I'll be proudly participating in the Invisible Disabilities Association and Allsup's Live Chat with the Experts. Join us to learn how humor can make life with a chronic illness or invisible disability a little easier and a whole lot more fun.

Humor and Healing: What The Science Tells Us

Psychoneuroimmunologists are doing amazing research on the ways our bodies and minds interact with each other, and the role our emotional state has on the way we feel.  This is critical information to have if you're dealing with a condition that causes chronic pain and elevates your stress levels. Both chronic pain and high stress levels can contribute in a negative way to high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose levels, and other conditions that can complicate an already challenging health situation.

Humor is an all-natural, safe, proven, and effective way to lower stress levels and reduce the impact of chronic pain upon the body. During the chat, we'll be talking...

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The Neurohumor Notebook

humor is power laughter Sep 17, 2012

In terms of scientific discovery, we're living in one of the most exciting times ever. Researchers are doing more and more each day to uncover the relationship between the human experience and our physical well-being.

There are complex biochemical responses - things changing within our bodies, most particularly our brains - when we're exposed to external stimuli that triggers strong emotional reactions. In other words, when we read a thrilling novel or look at a beautiful painting, something happens inside our brain.  It turns out that that something has a significant impact on how healthy we are.

Ready for some link soup?

This CNN article, What the Brain Draws From: Art and Neuro-Science, takes a long look at how the brain responds to different types of art, and why we may be hard-wired to prefer some patterns to others. Smiling human faces are the most popular type of image in the world - almost everyone loves them. I know I do!

This is Your Brain on Jane Austen looks at the...

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Humor & Healing: Time & Taboos

"Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh." George Bernard Shaw

You know what day it is today.  You know it, despite the fact that it's been 11 years.  You know it, despite the fact that the New York Times and the New York Post aren't treating the anniversary as a front page story this year.  You know what day it is today.

Is it a day to laugh?

One of the questions that comes up often in discussions about therapeutic humor - leveraging the healing power of laughter to help us cope better and more effectively with trauma and stress - is if there are any topics that are off-limits, where laughter is taboo.  It's a question that comes up especially at this time of year, when people are confronted, once again, with the memories of a uniquely painful event.

Humor & Healing: What's The Relationship

Before we talk about whether or not it's appropriate to laugh about the events of a particular day, it...

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