School’s out for summer! I don’t know about you, but summer is one of my favorite seasons. It’s the one time of year when we seem to have the most time and freedom to do one of the best things possible for diabetes management – having some fun!
Effective diabetes control means making healthy lifestyle choices. You know the routine – a healthy diet, exercise, and regular blood sugar testing. The trick is making the routine more fun.
Having fun is good for you! It turns out that having a good time, experiencing positive emotions, and especially laughing all have health benefits. You’ll lower your stress levels, improve your blood pressure, and enjoy better blood sugar control. (That’s only scratching the surface: you can read more about this in What’s So Funny About Diabetes?: A Creative Approach to Coping with Your Disease )
Here are some great ways to add healthy fun to your summertime routine:
If you’re searching for an easy, effective, all-natural way to manage your diabetes more effectively, I’ve got great news for you. You’re in for a good time! Researchers in the field of psychoneuroimmunology have been working steadily to prove that experiencing positive emotions leads directly to improved health. Having fun, it turns out, is good for you.
Specifically interesting for people with diabetes is research that shows enjoying humor can help control glucose spikes after a meal. Blood sugar control is obviously of high interest. Another factor that impacts our blood sugar is our stress levels: the more stressed out we are, the harder it becomes to control blood sugar levels.
One of the world’s best stress busters is play. We love to play when we’re children, but as we grow up, we stop – fearful, perhaps, that playing makes us seem less serious, less adult, less mature. To answer that, I’d like to quote from...
One of my best friends sent me a hysterical joke via email this morning. I read it very first thing this morning. I laughed so hard I almost woke all of the sleeping people in my home up!
What is this joke?
Well, here’s the thing. I’m not going to tell you it. It just wouldn’t be a good idea. If we were together in person, and I had a better sense of who you are and what might make you laugh, I might share it with you.
But right now, in the cold, vast anonymity of the internet, it’s not a good idea.
Understanding Humor: The Power of Bond
There are some types of humor that – if they’re going to work – depend upon the person telling the joke having a common experience or worldview with the person hearing the joke. This shared set of experiences or perspective provides a type of bond which makes it more likely that the two of you will find the same sort of thing funny.
Other people who don’t have the same experiences or worldview as...
“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”
These words from funny man George Burns turn out to contain more than a little health wisdom. It’s the type of health wisdom that’s particularly pertinent if you’re worried about developing Alzheimer’s or Dementia – or if you’re the caregiver for someone who has either one of these debilitating conditions.
According to this article in Alzheimer’s Care Today, there’s been some really exciting research done, focusing on the connection between a positive attitude and the impact of dementia. A group of seniors was dividing into two sets. One set was encouraged to think of themselves as young and energetic; the other group was not. When both groups of seniors were asked to perform some simple tests, the ‘younger’ group outperformed the older – by a significant margin.
Now some of you may be saying, “They needed a study to tell you...
Not sure what to get Dad this Father’s Day? The best present you can give is the gift of laughter, according to humor expert, author, and professional speaker, Karyn Buxman.
“Laughter improves our mood and lifts the spirit,” Karyn said, “and it can also make us healthier. The latest research continues to reveal the many physical and mental health benefits that come from sustained laughter. Humor can help us lower our blood pressure, maintain healthier blood sugar levels, increase circulation, and manage stress more effectively.”
Buxman draws on her health care background as a RN to advocate for the use of humor as a tool in chronic disease management. “Diabetes and heart disease are at epidemic levels in this country, and older men – we’re talking about Dad here! – are being affected every single day. Either they’re struggling with diabetes or heart disease themselves, or they love someone who is.”
If you’re interested in using humor to more effectively manage your diabetes, it’s good to know that you’ll find things to laugh at all around you. We live in a funny, funny world!
Some people don’t believe me when I say that. They come up to me after performances and tell me that nothing humorous ever happens when they’re in the vicinity. There are no funny headlines in their newspaper. They don’t see any funny billboards during their commute. Their world, they assure me, is totally devoid of humor.
That’s when I tell them the secret of a truly healthy diet: SPAM.
No, not that SPAM. I’ll be talking about everybody’s favorite processed pork shoulder product and the role it plays in a healthy diet in a future volume of the What’s So Funny About book series, probably in “What’s So Funny About Being a Nutritionist?”.
Today I want to talk about the other kind of SPAM. If you get e-mail, use Facebook, Twitter,...
“We all think we’re so different, and we’re not.” These wise words come from cartoonist Jim Unger, who died earlier today. You might recognize his Herman strip to the left – the series has run in newspapers for years, and has been a reliable source of genuine (if sometimes bittersweet!) chuckles. If you’ve never had the opportunity to spend some time with Herman, I urge you to clear some time in the schedule and do so STAT!
Cartoons are a particularly powerful way to increase the amount of humor in your life. The logical part of our mind reacts to the language used in a joke, but to reach the subconscious mind – where the most powerful, primal emotions reside – you need imagery. The best cartoons combine funny language with side-splitting imagery for an intense humor experience.
And make no mistake: Jim Unger’s cartoons are among the best. They really illustrate that humor unites us. We can all recognize the people in Herman:...
I have to tell you all, I’m really pumped up. I’ve just gotten back from speaking to the National Association of School Nurses. They’re an amazing, vibrant group of professionals who provide top quality health care and education. I’ve got to say they’ve caused me to reflect on exactly how much health care education you do when you’re a person with diabetes.
That’s right. We’re the ones that wind up doing the educating – despite the fact that the whole world is full of people who are convinced that they know more than you do about your diabetes! If you’ve ever gotten The Lecture from a well-intentioned relative who’s convinced you cure diabetes by avoiding all white foods, you know what I’m talking about.
In What’s So Funny About Diabetes?: A Creative Approach to Coping with Your Disease you’ll find useful ways to use humor to provide this education. Humor can make difficult conversations easier...
How likely are you to develop diabetes? The answer to that question can have a lot to do with what community you belong to. Diabetes is far more prevalent among some groups of people. If you are a Native person, you are 2.6 times more likely to wind up with diabetes than a non-Hispanic White person. Understanding why that happens is a long, lengthy discussion about complex social and health factors. We could do that – but let’s have some fun instead, and talk about how the Native tradition of storytelling is being used to help educate and empower people with the skills they need for better diabetes management.
According to this great article in The Kansas City Star, Rhonda LaValdo and Teresa Trumbly Lamsam were seeking a way to help combat the epidemic levels of diabetes in the Native community.
Story telling is a traditional part of Native culture for many reasons. Stories entertain, but they also convey valuable information. You can learn a lot about a people by...
As a humor researcher, one of the things I’m passionately interested in is the logistics of humor. I want to know what makes something funny. What is it about a joke, silly song, cute cartoon or comedian’s routine that prompts us to laugh?
This isn’t idle curiosity. If we can identify the essential elements of humor, then we can take pro-active steps to introduce those elements into our lives and enjoy more laughter. More laughter means better blood sugar control, lower blood pressure, and more effective stress management – good news for all of us!
One thing that makes the research challenging is the fact that there’s no one universally accepted definition of funny. We don’t all find the same things humorous. Take a show like America’s Funniest Home Videos – a program composed almost entirely of embarrassing moments, pranks, pitfalls, and painfully bad ideas. Some people watch a would-be daredevil ride his bike off of the...