Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cultivating Humor

My husband told me last night that he'd love for me to do a stand-up comedy routine, just for him.  Just picturing it made him chuckle.  It made me chuckle, too.  I can see us in our living room, him sitting at a make-shift round table with a glass of wine, and me standing with a wrench or some other pretend microphone, saying "Did you hear the one about. . ."  We've done sillier things.  We tend to laugh alot.

I'm a true believer in humor for healing all types of ills.  In the stress management class that I teach at work,  one of the things that I discuss with people is the idea of actively cultivating humor.  I enjoy watching people who have come into the class very burdened by the demands in their lives light up at the thought that maybe something as simple and uplifting as laughter could help ease those burdens.  Research has proven that laughter lowers blood pressure and stress hormones, and increases immune function and the release of endorphins.  It really is good medicine.

Humor unites people, because laughter is the universal language.  Sharing a private joke or a moment of happiness with another creates a bond of good-feeling and lifts the heart.  I remember when my son was about 18 months old, he would pick up his play telephone, hold it up to his ear, and laugh and laugh.  I realized early on that he was imitating what he thought a person did on a telephone.  I looked like that, talking on the phone with my sister.  I am pleased to say we still do that.

Many times, when my husband or I, or both of us, have had a tough day at work, we decide to do something funny.  We've gone to the park to swing and slide, which is very humorous, especially to the kids watching us.  We've batted the wiffle ball at the park in heavy wind.  We've worn big wax gummy lips to the dinner table.  We've eaten cake with my son, not using utensils, and then taken pictures.  Not too long ago, while paying bills, my husband donned his slippers that look like rainbow trout, and I wore a bow tie.  Recounting these times, and remembering so many more, makes me smile.  Humor is even great years later, with the remembering.

There is no limit to the ways we can create humor for ourselves.  Rent a funny movie or choose to read a silly book.   I have a couple of sites bookmarked on my computer at work that I can go to for a quick joke in the middle of a hectic day.  Make a mental note of something that really tickled your funny bone, and then remember it when you need to smile.  Most importantly, choose to find amusement in the little things as you go through your day.  To quote that very articulate author, Dr. Seuss, "From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere."

Celebrate your sense of funny.  Each of us has our own brand of humor and our own way of expressing it.  Mine is more quiet, which makes the whole stand-up idea all the more comical.  I'll let you know when my routine is finished.

Humor, and laughter, bring us into step with our highest joy, and open us to fully celebrate being alive.  Here's to laughing loud and often!

May this tool be a blessing. . .


  1. we have laughing clubs in India - Mumbai. Every morning people meet in public garden to just laugh.

    Humor is so human..

  2. Yes! Standup can be as wonderful as a strip tease! Part of the pathology that I'm seeing all around us has to do with the loss of humor and joy. Thank you for the reminder! I want some of those laugh lines to overcome that vertical frown line! (smile)

  3. Thank you Sherry for your comment in my blog.
    My wife and I also cultivate joking and laughing, especially when things are difficult.
    Some time ago I wrote a blogpost on: A Lighter Side of Spirituality: Spiritual Jokes:
    and another on Foolosophy and the Art of Smiling

  4. Thanks Sherry! Yes, we need more humor in the world. We need to remember to laugh and play and sing and dance again. It is our playful selves that we need to water during this Spring season. Thanks for the reminder!! Mary Anne