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Humor: For the Health of It!

Welcome to National Humor Month

Not only is it National Humor Month, but it is also time to remember (or discover) that laughter is good for your health.

Laughter and humor are potential sources of power, creativity and health in our personal and professional lives. While not offered as a cure-all for every problem that exists, humor has a lot of positive possibilities for our daily lives:

1. Humor makes life fun.
2. Humor can help us cope with problems.
3. Humor with a hint of playfulness is a safety valve for aggression and an acceptable means to express anger.
4. Humor offers perspective and balance.
5. Humor is a means of communication and creative expression.
6. Humor provides temporary relief from society’s restrictive regulations.
7. Humor is a way to express the truth even when truth is feared and repressed.
8. Humor is mentally and physically good for you.
9. Laughter affirms life and brings people together.
10. Humor often succeeds where other methods have failed.

 Group Building In The Workplace

A sense of playfulness and shared laughter can do much to enhance a feeling of camaraderie in the workplace. Shared positive attitudes can affirm employees’ ties to their company and sense of commitment to their co-workers.

Is Humor Allowed In Your Workplace?

Laughter and humor are potential sources of power, creativity and health in our personal and professional lives. While not offered as a cure-all for every problem that exists, humor has a lot of positive possibilities for our daily lives!

Laughter and humor are potential sources of power, creativity and health in our personal and professional lives. While not offered as a cure-all for every problem that exists, humor has a lot of positive possibilities for our daily lives!

People spend a major portion of their time in their place of business. Unless there is a certain level of enjoyment and playfulness, the workplace can become a source of negative stress and illness for workers. Unfortunately, organizational norms or culture may reinforce an attitude that “play is not professional,” or that if someone is laughing or seems to be enjoying him or herself at work that they must be “goofing around.” Check the sense of humor of the CEO and management personnel in a company – they set the tone for the organization. Some organizations simply are not allowed to have a sense of humor because of oppressive management.

There Can Be Joy In Work

In an ideal world, each person’s skills and interests are well matched with the demands of their chosen career. This leads to people who are performing tasks within their areas of interest who are accomplishing personal and organizational goals in a satisfying, enjoyment-producing manner. There is a sense of fulfillment and joy in this workplace.

“Ideal”  vs.  “Real”

We don’t live in an ideal world. But most of us still want a sense of fulfillment and joy from our chosen employment. Humor is one of the quickest, healthiest, ways to help us deal with the differences between “ideal” and “real.” Humor helps to point out the absurdities of life, including those in ourselves.

Smoothing Out The Rough Spots

Humor has been called the grease in the machinery of civilization. In other words, it lets us slide more smoothly over the rough edges that we will surely face.

Positive Self-Esteem

Healthful humor starts with the ability to laugh at self. The ability to laugh at yourself comes from a strong base of self-acceptance and being able to admit one’s own mistakes and silliness. And from that base of positive self-approval comes the ability to treat life with the creative, light, playful, healthful attitude that it needs and deserves.

F.E.A.R.  Of Humor

Starting to use humor causes some people to experience fear. “What if people think I am flaky?” or, “What if nobody laughs?” Using humor can put you in a vulnerable position. But vulnerable can also mean “open” and “accessible” to those with whom you work (unless you always use “put-down” humor). Think of the word “FEAR” as an acronym.

F.alse
E.vidence
A.ppearing
R.eal

Most of us know someone with a gentle sense of humor. We almost always feel better after having spent a brief moment in this person’s presence. With practice, that person could be you. The F.E.A.R. is that you have to become a stand-up comedian. The reality is that you just need to become more fully who you are and share that with those around you.

Getting Started

Learning to use more humor requires practice. Here are some guidelines to help you get started.

1. Look for humor throughout your day. Try to see the amusing side of every situation.
2. Start a humor first-aid kit. Stock it with things that are funny to you – cartoons, jokes, greeting cards, a bottle of soap bubbles, comedy recordings. Apply liberally for emotional scrapes and bruises.
3. Brighten up your room or workspace. Use cheerful stickers and zany signs.
4. Make time for fun. Schedule a 10-minute humor break every day.
5. Share laughter with those around you. Place cartoons on a bulletin board or tell a funny story about yourself. Use slight exaggeration to make the story funnier.
6. Laugh when you are low. Psychologist William James said, “We don’t laugh because we are happy – we’re happy because we laugh.”

Choose To Become Healthier

Go ahead – dare to become a healthier person. Smile. Laugh more. Share the crazy things that happen in your life. And in the process you will reduce your level of stress, improve your enjoyment of life, and improve the workings of your immune system.

Remember to be good to you!

Copyright © 2013 by Gary L. Flegal, Ph.D.

Dr. Gary Flegal is a Behavioral Medicine and Health Specialist with a doctorate in “Health Education and Human Performance” from Michigan State University. He is an exciting and accomplished presenter and keynote speaker, presenting seminars for groups and companies on location and at conventions. His advanced training in stress management came to him while working in affiliation with the original Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard under the direction of Herbert Benson, M.D. and his staff. In addition to corporate presentations, Dr. Flegal keeps a busy schedule working with individual clients for a variety of stress-related issues, including anger management, quitting smoking, learning to relax and manage stress, and learning self-hypnosis.

Dr. Flegal’s other passion is magic. He has been a professional magician for over 30 years and continues practicing his art at every opportunity. These two passions work together beautifully as he illustrates stress management concepts with fun, visual, and “magical” demonstrations in his stress management workshops and seminars. It also allows him to share stress management with his magic audiences wherever he goes because “Laughter is the Best Medicine!” Gary is a Reiki Master and a Certified Consulting Hypnotist, certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists.

Dr. Flegal’s specialties include stress management, anger management, positive behavior change, insomnia, smoking cessation, and exercise physiology. For individual appointments, speaking engagements, or more information, contact Gary at Professional Stress Management Services in Nashville, Tennessee, at (615)812-7280 or through his Web site: www.GaryFlegal.com.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “Humor: For the Health of It!

  1. AWESOME – Gary this BLOG is right on – thanks for sharing

    Posted by Judith | April 8, 2013, 8:24 am
    • Hey Judith! Thanks for your comment. I have always said, “If you aren’t having some fun at your work, you are in the wrong line of work.” I haven’t always lived it, but I have always said it! Ok – now you can laugh at me . . . LOL!!!

      Posted by Dr. Gary Flegal | April 8, 2013, 8:43 am
  2. Great blog. I find much enjoyment in celebrating the absurdities of life!

    Posted by Ginger McFadden | April 9, 2013, 12:45 pm
    • Ginger – you are so right! Human beings are nothing if they are not absurd! And we can either take the absurdities seriously (I think there’s a joke in there somewhere) or we can laugh . . .

      Posted by Dr. Gary Flegal | April 9, 2013, 12:50 pm

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DISCLAIMER

Stress can cause severe health problems if not managed properly. In extreme cases stress can lead to physical symptoms which can even cause death. While stress management techniques have been shown to have a positive effect on reducing stress, the information on this website is for guidance only. Readers should seek the advice of suitably qualified health professionals if they have any concerns over stress-related illnesses or if stress is causing significant or persistent unhappiness. Health professionals should also be consulted before any major change in diet or levels of exercise.
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