Today’s world is stressful, hurried, and days flash by leaving us winded, tired, stressed and humorless. 44% of people in the US frequently feel stressed. Four in ten people say they lack the time to do all they want. (news.gallup.com) 75% of all of our doctor visits are stress related.
How did we get here? Let’s be real! We may always be here. But I wonder if we can be here while feeling more light-hearted, joyous, humorous, and vibrant. Did you stop reading at joyous, close your eyes or even roll your eyes? Humor is diffusing!
Laughter improves test scores, helps with pain tolerance, can ward off disease (livestrong.com). Humor informs our attitude towards positive experiences and the lack of it can lean us to fall into the bucket of negativity.
Once you wallow in that bucket of negativity, it is hard to get out. You will find confidants that may hold you down, pull you in further, or step on the small of your back so they may continue to have company. Bust out! Laugh! Giggle! Let’s look at the four ways to use humor as a diffusing self-care strategy. Open your toolbox, hold it wide open and let the humor seep in. I promise life is better through laughter!
1. Find your funny: Children laugh over 200 times a day and adults only laugh about 17 times in that same day. Where have you been keeping your funny? Do you even remember what you find funny? Who are the people in your life that let the playful shine? Sit and make a list of times in your life where funny was alive and vibrated through your soul. Make a plan to let those kinds of experiences back into your life.
2. Love what you do regardless of money: Raise your hand if you love your job. If you must wake up on average of five days a week hating what you walk into after a morning of rushed and scurried activity, you may fall face first into the bucket. I taught in childcare way before I became a certified behavioral consultant.
I made less than $15 per hour and laughed all day. I gave the best under doggies. I wore “for real” sparkle shirts every Wednesday. I dressed as a clown at circle time. I let the children paint me and then played monster-paint tag. I laughed every day, until I cried or snorted. I left childcare to work with harder kids not because I would make more than $15 per hour. I wanted to bring humor to more places. My reputation precedes me. I am, now, the “funny” girl! Mission accomplished!
3. Take care of yourself: Breathe. What activities did you used to do, before the chaos set in, that counted as self-care? If you are currently rushing around like the chicken we have all heard of, head…. cut…. off, then we are less likely to relax enough to find our way out of the bucket. Find time to take care of yourself.
4. Wheel of wellness: Look at the Wheel of Wellness to see which buckets need filling. Which buckets are empty, half empty, dangerously close to causing a wellness catastrophe? Is it your social, physical, emotional, nutritional, intellectual, spiritual or financial bucket that needs vibrancy, enthusiasm, freedom or exhilaration? Once you know, find a lifter you trust and start the process of carving out humor.
Know that children can spot adults without humor, playfulness or joy a mile away. Believe that you can climb out of the bucket, even if only for minutes a day. Remember that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes burns about 40 calories. If you aren’t going to do it for wellness, do it for the abs!