Laughter Is the Best Medicine

Dancing in the morning was a great way to introduce laughter and play into the day. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

Sometimes I take life a bit too seriously. Don’t we all? So how do we lighten up?

At the recent National Federation of Press Women conference, I learned some great tips thanks to professional speaker Steve Saffron. My day began with a morning yoga class so I already was doing something for me to lighten up and be limber for the day. Little did I know what was to yet to come.

I went to the morning session, and by 9 a.m. I had laughed until I had tears. And I had danced! What a great way to start a day.

Having the good life, is all about having the right attitude. “No one needs a course on human misery,” Steve noted. “You get that for free.”

To survive you have to have laughter and humor, and when you don’t feel like laughing, Steve says to fake it. He asked audience members to giggle for 10 seconds. Most of us hesitated for a second – or two. Then we made a half-hearted attempt. The last five seconds genuine giggles were heard.

To invite more laughter, Steve recommends keeping a collection of one liners, cartoons, puns, stories and photos that can trigger laughter. I love to read the humorous sayings on T-shirts in catalogs. I can’t help but smile when I read, “Don’t Make Me Flip My Witch-Switch.”

And Steve told this one, “What did the baby volcano say to the mother volcano?” Are you ready? “I lava you.”

Yep, you groaned, but I bet a smile started. And if you think about it for even an extra second, you will grin.

Steve also provided practical advice. Most of us have busy calendars. He asked us, “Where are you on the calendar?” It was an eye-opening moment for me. I went through my electronic calendar and noted all my fun engagements and I color-coded them using my favorite color. Now when I see a sea of meetings, I also see my favorite color in the midst and I know that I have something fun to go to. It changes my attitude. Steve recommended yellow for color-coding because it “will help you be mellow.”

As we prepared to leave the session, Steve put on some music to help pep our departure. For a few of us, it was a favorite song, so we stayed and danced. And then others stayed. And then we laughed. We were ready for the day!

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