Plato once said that “Life was meant to be lived as play.” When I ask audience members if they have a sense of humor, I usually get 25 per cent of the group raising their hands. Yet, when I tell a joke, most of the audience laughs. I’d like to expand your understanding of yourself and humor. Underneath the word PLAYFULNESS are more specific terms such as humor and fun. Humor is the ability to give laughter or be the instigator of playfulness. This is the more yang, or masculine principle. Fun, on the other hand, is the ability to receive laughter. This is the more yin, or feminine, principle of playfulness. A useful metaphor may be that humor is the plug, and fun is the socket. The ability to be playful with life is to have both. Some people are good at receiving laughter; they can laugh at jokes or irony, but rarely express humor themselves. These people have a good sense of fun. Conversely, some people use humor often to instill laughter in others, yet may not be able to laugh themselves. Several professional comedians fall into this category. They have a good sense of humor, but not a good sense of fun. The ideal is to have both.
What Are Your Attitudes Towards Humor?
Before building on your sense of humor, it is important to do a personal attitude inventory. Read each statement and think about how often this is true for you…
A) Always B) Mostly C) Don't Know D) Never
1. Life is hard, mostly a struggle. A B C D
2. When I work I have a lot of fun. A B C D
3. I find I worry a lot in life. A B C D
4. My mental health improves when I’m having fun. A B C D
5. Having fun seems to just get me into trouble as a presenter. A B C D
6. I laugh at myself when I make a mistake. A B C D
7. I feel overwhelmed by my responsibilities. A B C D
8. I take my responsibilities seriously, but myself lightly. A B C D
9. When I’m having fun, other people seem positively affected by me. A B C D
10. When I’m doing something that is just for fun, it feels like a waste of time. A B C D
11. I thrive on adventure. A B C D
12. I’m not playful when I work because there is too much to do. A B C D
13. I put off learning more about humor because I don’t have time. A B C D
14. I am grateful for my life, and make each moment count. A B C D
15. When I’m with a group of people socially it takes me a while to feel relaxed enough to be playful. A B C D
16. Using humor feels too risky. A B C D
17. I’m concerned people will think I’m stupid or foolish if I try to make them laugh. A B C D
18. People generally consider me a positive, upbeat person. A B C D
19. My audiences are usually poker-faced grouches who practice mirth control. A B C D
20. If I’m having fun at the front of the room, others feel uncomfortable. A B C D
21. The people I spend most of my time with are fun-loving people. A B C D
22. I look for what is wrong with a situation, before I look at what is right. A B C D
23. I have a good sense of humor; I can easily make people laugh. A B C D
24. When I was growing up, my family was humorously challenged. A B C D
25. I have a sunny disposition. A B C D
26. I laugh easily. A B C D
27. When things go wrong, I eventually find some angle on it that is funny. A B C D
28. Whenever I start to enjoy myself, I start to feel guilty. A B C D
29. I tend to see the glass as “half empty”. A B C D
30. My humor seems to hurt and/or offend people A B C D
31. I’m less self-conscious when I’m having fun. A B C D
32. I like to stay in control. Having fun often seems too chaotic. A B C D
33. I balance work and play in my life. A B C D
34. I make sure I take time to enjoy myself each day. A B C D
35. Most women aren’t very funny. A B C D
36. Women’s humor is just as valid as men’s. A B C D
Jack, my grandson, was sick with a fever, cough and all that goes with a cold or the flu. The Doctor told us it was just a chest cold and to do those things you usually do for a cold: lots of water, rest, some cough medicine, etc. In the morning he did nothing but lay limply on the couch beside his dad. That was scary. By afternoon he was back to his bouncy, happy self and we relaxed a bit.
My computer crashed several times in the afternoon in the middle of a job that had to be done NOW for a customer. I lost data and had to do several things over. Not nice.
FEDEX didn’t pick up the package that HAD to go out on Friday and we had to take it to Kinkos so it could go out for sure. Time wasted over someone else’s glitch.
My cat barfed on the rug by the sink in the kitchen. Had to take the time to clean it up.
The TV stopped working – a cable was loose – no big deal, but it was frustrating.
That’s how the day went. Nothing major – just a lot of irritating little things. My son had the same kind of day and we were both a little edgy by the time evening came.
We were all sitting down catching our breath when Jack had a gaseous explosion – if you’ve ever been around little boys you know how much absolute fun farts and belches can be. (sorry for the crudeness – it’s just the way it is with them). Jack got the giggles. Then his dad got them. Soon the three of us were sitting here laughing and any remaining tension from the day was gone. Vanished.
We got a renewed burst of energy and finished the day on a high note.
Laughter is so powerful.
Start paying attention to what laughter does for you.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a good bout of laughter will:
Stimulate your organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
Soothe tension and stomachaches. Laughter can also ease digestion and stimulate circulation, which helps reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
The long-term effects of laughter, again, according to the Mayo Clinic, are to:
Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can impact your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make difficult situations a little bit easier.
So, not only will laughter erase the effects of your daily stress, it will make you healthier. What a great deal! And laughter costs absolutely nothing.
So, what about Santa?
Can you imagine the stress level of Santa trying to get all those gifts delivered to the right children on time, not to mention the problems he must have with eight reindeer, a sleigh and the weather? So what does he do? He laughs. He Ho, h o, hos as he flies around the planet and his stress level stays low. We can take a lesson from this jolly old man. Let’s Ho, Ho, Ho all the way to Christmas!
Today may be rushed and a little ( or a lot) stressed if you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner. It may be a stressful day regardless of how you are celebrating. Sometimes holidays do that. And if it’s a perfectly perfect day, you can still use a little Thanksgiving humer. And so I have invited Maxine to be – well, Maxine. Enjoy.
When my kids were teens they introduced me to Weird Al Yankovic. We had a couple of his CD’s and played them any time we piled in the van to go somewhere and we laughed every time we heard them – this was twenty years ago. It seems that Weird Al is still going strong. If you aren’t familiar with him, he writes his own lyrics to hit songs. Oh, he gets permission first from the composer but most of them consider it a complement to be pariodied by Weird Al. It means they’ve “arrived.” Yesterday I stumbled upon this one. If you’ve ever shopped on Ebay then, as they say, “You gotta love it.” Enoy.
Several people have asked me why I don’t pick a topic and give you a bunch of pointers on how to achieve your goal. For example, “Ten Ways to Stop Procrastination,” or “Becoming a Top Speaker in 5 Easy Steps or “6 Ways to Be More Loveable.” The answer? I could do that and it probably wouldn’t get you far if you followed it. I’m not saying that lists of “how tos” never work. I’m saying that improvement is an inside job wrapped around liking who you are. As you begin to accept yourself like you are right now and love and respect that self, many of the things that you’ve been trying to work on either improve or are no loger an issue.
One of the key ingredients in self improvement and self acceptance is a sense of humor. God knows that we humans are a funny bunch and we might as well get a good laugh now and then from it – even at our own expense. I look at myself and think of the tag line for some children’s toys, “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.” I look like a weeble but I do fall down. I need to be about seven feet tall to balance out my weight. I am past middle age and gravity has most certainly taken over, dragging body parts down where they’re not supposed to be. I look at women who have tiny waistlines and remember – well, sometimes, I remember. I forget a lot and often that’s a good thing. [Read more...]
With a name like Conlan I could hardly let the day go by without wishing you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, now, could I? I’ll be wearing green today as well.� We really are unhyphenated Americans but have a good bit of Irish blood in our veins. It’s a fun holiday with parades, green beer, lots of drinking and eating yummy things like corned beef and cabbage and some bragging rights about being Irish.
St. Patrick is a Catholic saint credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland in the fifth century. It’s too bad he didn’t come to the desert and send the rattle snakes packing but that’s another story and another century. [Read more...]
This is my last day in La Paz. We head for Cobo just before noon and tomorrow I catch my plan to return to Arizona. I have had a wonderful stay and I’m not anxious to leave. There is so much beauty here – everywhere you look there’s something special.
The picture today is again of Alligator Rock only this time it is barely visible because the tide is so high this morning – higher than any other morning since I’ve been here. There is one brave pelican sitting on the tiny tip of it that sticks up above the water. He sits stoically there like the captain who is reluctant to abandon ship. We could all learn from that pelican – lessons in bravery and “hanging in there.” Then again maybe he’s not too bright and can’t see anyplace else to land even though the beach is close. Who knows.
Today I feel a “rampage of appreciation” coming on. That’s a term coined by Abraham – Hicks (http://www.abraham-hicks.com) to encourage us to remember all those things we have to be grateful for. Wow! How much time do we have and how much can’ I write on a blog? [Read more...]
Melanie Brocklehurst, the guest on last week's Self Improvement Show, brought to our attention the plight of little girls in Nepal and Tibet. (If you didn't hear the show, it's worth listening to - click the video above and hear what Melanie has to say.)It is an opportunity for you to help someone … [Read More...]
Frontline Learning is making over 40 online learning courses available to 5000 unemployed individuals. Any currently unemployed person is eligible to receive these programs simply be registering online (see link below).
There is no hook or catch or "fine print" here - these are full featured … [Read More...]
By Irene Conlan -
For some it was a stretch to accept the idea of the wholeness of the individual—that we work as a unit with body, mind, emotions, and spirit working together and what affected one part affected the whole. If my emotions, for example, are seething with anger something will … [Read More...]
By Irene Conlan -
Thoroughly researched and carefully crafted this is a program that is designed for success in a field that sees far too much failure. How many people struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol check themselves into rehab over and over and never seem to be free of the need to … [Read More...]
This morning when I started working on this blog, I opened the Dashboard, as usual, to deal with the comments. Often I get great comments about the articles I've posted. Occasionally, I get comments by someone who thought the article was wrong, needed changing, or just didn't measure up. I welcome … [Read More...]
By Irene Conlan-
Have you seen the ads for electronic cigarettes? It's an interesting twist on the ordeal of quitting the smoking habit.
My son decided he wanted to quit and after researching a number of companies settled on a productg by LeCig.
His package arrived Friday and today he … [Read More...]
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