Catching up with Karyn

What’s So Funny About Father’s Day?

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.”

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What’s So Funny About Diabetes: Is SPAM Part of Your Healthy Diet?

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,...

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What’s So Funny About Diabetes: A Farewell To Jim Unger

“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:...

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What’s So Funny About Diabetes: Humor Teaches!

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...

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What’s So Funny About Diabetes: The Power of Storytelling

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...

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What’s So Funny About Diabetes: What Makes the Funny Funny?

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...

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What’s So Funny About Diabetes: Learning How To Laugh

Real laughter has always been something that I seem to struggle with. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard I almost cried…or had such a deep laugh that my belly hurt. I grew up in a house where there wasn’t much laughter and feel like I didn’t learn this behavior. Any thoughts or suggestions?

I get messages like this one more often than you might expect. Many, many people have been raised without humor and laughter playing an important role during their formative years. There’s a number of reasons why this can happen. Different cultures, and different families, place a different premium on the value of laughter.

An article by Helen Dennis provides a great example:

“My parents were immigrants. Work was a way of life in order to make it in America. To waste time was almost sinful. Play was an indulgence that was not acknowledged and never rewarded. My parents did not have time for it. It is still difficult to divorce myself from these...

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What’s So Funny About Business?

You might not have an immediate answer for that question.  Business is hard work. Owning and operating a business can consume your life.  Working for somebody else – whether that’s in operations, marketing, hr, or the dreaded accounting division – isn’t necessarily a piece of cake, either.  We devote tremendous amounts of time, energy, and resources into our work, because so much depends on being successful.

Surely this is no laughing matter.

Actually, laughing is the best thing you can be doing.  We’d even argue that you have to laugh, if you want to succeed. Don’t believe us? Just ask the people at Southwest.  Their uniquely humorous approach has earned them significant goodwill and provided them with a valuable differentiator in a crowded and competitive marketplace.

You see, it turns out that the strategic use of humor is one of the single most important tools businesses have at their disposal.  The ability to use...

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What's So Funny About Diabetes?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – no, not the time we get to break into Santa’s stash of sugar-free candy canes (although that’s pretty awesome too!) It’s book release season! I’m super excited to tell you that my latest book, What’s So Funny About Diabetes? A Creative Approach to Coping With Your Disease is now available!

What’s So Funny About Diabetes?

Maybe nothing. Then again, maybe everything.

Especially if you understand the premise that so much of our humor comes from pain and discomfort—our own, or somebody else’s. And let’s face it; if you’re a diabetic, you’ve got more than your fair share of pain and discomfort.

Currently one in 10 US adults has diabetes, but those numbers could go as high as 1 in 3 by the year 2050. A long-term solution can only come from getting people to change their lifestyles: better diets, exercise and coping mechanisms to deal with this serious illness.

The good...

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What’s So Funny About Wednesday: Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! I’d like to wish each and every person reading these words a wonderful Thanksgiving. May your holiday be a wonderful celebration with family and friends – and of course, some great laughs!

Thanksgiving is a time for reflecting on our blessings. This year, we’ve had lots of blessings (and a few blessings-in-disguise). We’re grateful for *most* of them and for *everything* we’ve taken away from the experience. Most of all, it’s you we’re thankful for. Without such great people to work and laugh with, the world wouldn’t be such a fabulous place.

Using Humor At Thanksgiving

Are you headed for a holiday dinner where younger children will be present? Try memorizing a few silly Thanksgiving riddles. You’ll be giving the kids something to laugh about, keeping them entertained (and out of trouble!) and it may just turn out that their good mood is infectious.

(Our favorite? Why did the police arrest the...

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