What do you call a line of rabbits walking backward?
As a writer I think it's important to be responsive to your readers. So I'm dedicating this week's column to a fan who took the time the other day to let me know that he needs my humorous and satirical side to bubble back up to the surface.
So put the tissues away Mike Horan… this one’s for you.
Mark Twain called humor mankind’s greatest blessing. Even our third president and noted scholar, Thomas Jefferson (not someone you typically associate with comedy) said, “Good humor is one of the preservatives of our peace and tranquility.”
What is the greatest reward of being alive? Is it chocolate, sex, ice cream, tropical vacations, hugs from children, a perfect night’s sleep, or the satisfaction of a job well done? A thousand people, a thousand different answers. But one supreme pleasure that spans all people and all generations is laughter.
Little can compare to the feeling of a deep, complete, heartfelt laughing spell. No matter your age, wealth, race, or living situation, life is good when laughter is frequent.
Research has also found that humor can help you cope better with pain, enhance your immune system, reduce stress, even help you live longer. Laughter, doctors and psychologists agree, is an essential component of a healthy, happy life.
Thanks to Reader's Digest here are a few ideas that will help energize your sense of humor:
First, regain your smile. A smile and a laugh aren’t the same thing, but they do live in the same neighborhood. Remember to smile at simple pleasures — the sight of kids playing, a loved one or friend approaching, the successful completion of a task, the witnessing of something amazing or humorous.
Recall several of the most embarrassing moments in your life. Then find the humor in them. Now practice telling stories describing them in a humorous way. It might take a little exaggeration or dramatization, but that’s what good storytelling is all about. By revealing your vulnerable moments and being self-deprecating, you open yourself up much more to the humorous aspects of life.
Anytime something annoying and frustrating occurs — like at a Webster Town Meeting — turn it on its head and find the humor. Sure, you can have the normal response and get angry but it doesn’t accomplish anything other than to put you in a bad mood. Better to find a way to laugh at life’s little annoyances. One way to do that: Think about it as if it happened to someone else, someone you like — or better yet, someone you don’t. Laugh at him, then laugh at yourself!
Read the comics every day and cut out the ones that remind you of your life. Post them on a bulletin board or the refrigerator or anywhere else you can see them frequently. Here's one of my favorites:
Every night at dinner, ask family members to share one funny or even embarrassing moment of their day.
When someone offends you or makes you angry, respond with humor rather than hostility. Life is too short to turn every personal affront into a battle. However, if you are constantly offended by someone in particular, yes, take it seriously and take appropriate action. But for occasional troubles, or if nothing you do can change the person or situation, take the humor response.
Add something humorous to your daily to-do list and don’t mark it off until you do it, suggests Jeanne Robertson, a humor expert and author of several books on the topic. When you run into friends or coworkers, ask them to tell you one funny thing that has happened to them in the past couple of weeks. Become known as a person who wants to hear humorous true stories as opposed to an individual who prefers to hear gossip, suggests Robertson.
Find a humor buddy. This is someone you can call just to tell him something funny; someone who will also call you with funny stories of things he’s seen or experienced, says Robertson.
Exaggerate and overstate problems. Making the situation bigger than life can help us to regain a humorous perspective, says Patty Wooten, R.N., an award-winning humorist and author of Compassionate Laughter: Jest for the Health of It. Cartoon caricatures, slapstick comedy, and clowning articles are all based on exaggeration, she notes.
Create a humor environment. Have a ha-ha bulletin board where you only post funny sayings or signs, suggests Allen Klein, an award-winning professional speaker and author of The Healing Power of Humor. His favorite funny sign: “Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.”
Experiment with jokes. Learn one simple joke each week and spread it around. One of Klein’s favorites relates to his baldness: What do you call a line of rabbits walking backward? A receding hare line. Focus humor on yourself. “Because of my lack of hair,” Klein says, “I tell people that I’m an expert on how to fix a bad hair day.”
And if those ideas don't work, take two aspirins and call Mike Horan.
- Wednesday, 09 May 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Ginger Costen's From This Corner