The Laugh Factor by MikeJenny

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									           The Laugh Factor
How to Develop Your Own Unique Sense of Humor
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                          TABLE OF CONTENTS




Introduction                                           4


Chapter One                                            6
Laugh Your Way Through Life And Better Relationships
Developing Your Sense Of Humor


Chapter Two                                            12
How to Develop A Great Sense Of Humor
Let the Laughter Ring!


Chapter Three                                          17
The Family That Laughs Together…
Raising Funny Kids


Chapter Four                                           26
A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Office:
Learn to Find the Funny Side of Work


Chapter Five                                           34
How to Use Humor to Communicate Effectively
Humor Says It All!


Chapter Six                                            45
Doctor, Doctor, It Hurts When I Do This!
Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine


Conclusion                                             54
                                      Introduction

        Humor is simply the ability to evoke feelings of amusement in others. A

person, object, situation, or combination of these may be humorous. Humor is a

way of communicating that makes you and others laugh or feel happy.

        All people have a sense of humor. Some may have a more developed

sense of humor compared with others. Hence, situations that may seem hilarious

to some will appear incredibly dull to others. There are many variables involved

when it comes to determining a person’s sense of humor.

        Among these variables are geographic location and culture. Oftentimes,

what Americans find humorous is met with cold stares and totally not understood

by other cultures. Another possible factor is the American slang that prevents

others from understanding and appreciating the Americans' brand of humor.

Cultural taboos could also keep others from finding certain topics humorous.

        Other variables may include maturity or educational levels of the

individual. For example, a young child laughs over a character slipping and falling

on a banana peel, while the adult finds satirical humor highly entertaining.

Obviously, the young child is not going to understand satire and the adult may

find pratfalls just plain silly and juvenile.

        Even gender can be a variable when it comes to sense of humor. Men and

women do not always appreciate the same type of humor. Men favor aggressive

humor with sexual content, while women might appreciate humor with subtle

sexual content.
       The origin of the word “humor” comes from the ancient Greeks and the

humoral medicine. The Greeks believed that a mix of fluids they called “humors”

control human health and emotions.

       Whether you are a young child or a senior citizen, developing a sense of

humor is essential to your health and well-being. This report will teach you how to

develop your own unique sense of humor! Therefore, put a smile on your face

and let the laughter begin!



       “To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life.”

                                                         - Frank Gelett Burgess
                    Chapter One
 Laugh Your Way Through Life And Better Relationships
          Developing Your Sense Of Humor

       “A sense of humor stops hardening of the attitudes and creates people

who are inversely paranoids -- they think the world is out to do them good.” - Joel

Goodman

        A wise man once said that it is better to laugh than cry. If you want to

increase your chance of surviving the difficulties in life, try to develop the ability to

laugh at situations and yourself. According to experts, smiling actually requires

fewer muscles than frowning.

       For the average human, developing a sense of humor has many benefits.

People with highly developed sense of humor are motivated. They are usually

more cheerful, reliable, and have better self-esteem. They also find it easier to

make friends or establish relationships.

       When it comes to relationships, most people admit that finding someone

with a great sense of humor is high on their list of priorities. This is one of the

most desired traits, at least within the American culture. Men and women alike

seem to value their partners and friends with great sense of humor.

       Developing a great sense of humor allows you to give the gift of laughter

to family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. The sweet sound of laughter

transcends social, cultural, or even spiritual boundaries. The sound of your loved

one’s laughter is enough to bring a smile and lift your spirit. Happiness is an

attitude.
       You reveal your sense of humor in many ways. Comedy is one of the

easiest means to discover your gift of humor. Comedy, one of the funniest art

forms, incorporates various humorous elements in life.

       Some people laugh to hide feelings of fear. Look around and you will see

how scary and dangerous the world can be. With this, your first impulse is to run

away. This is a common response to fear. You feel that you lost control over

events that happen in this world. The logical brain says that you might be in

trouble and you cannot do anything about it. In situations like this, it is better to

laugh than cry. You should always remember to smile. According to doctors,

laughter is a form of release from the anxiety, especially when terrible things

happen to you or others.

       Most of us would rather laugh than cry; that is why we make jokes about

circumstances bothering us, hoping to lighten the mood and introduce positive

emotions. Developing your sense of humor will enable you to see the funny side

of life and help others see it, too. People need the ability to laugh in order to see

them through life.



Finding Your Perfect Match Using Sense of Humor

       Sense of humor is an essential ingredient in some people’s search for

meaningful relationships. People who never smile or laugh may find themselves

more often alone. The next time you attend a social gathering, watch the guests

carefully. You will find different types of personalities such as the “life of the

party” and quiet/shy types.
       Invariably, the quiet/shy types rarely smile or laugh. They speak very little

and end up standing in a corner alone. Other guests find themselves avoiding

these types because frankly, they are not fun to be with all the time. It is very

difficult to be around morose types of persons. They seem and probably are very

depressed and unhappy. Some brave soul may attempt to cheer them up,

usually to no avail.

       A great sense of humor is necessary in that all-important search for a

mate. No one goes around looking for the perfect mate saying, “I’m looking for a

guy/gal with no sense of humor.” Male or female, we are all looking for a mate

with a great sense of humor.

       Before you begin that all-important search, start with the basics — know

yourself! Do you know who you are? Be honest with yourself and answer these

questions:

   ·   Do you possess a good sense of humor?

       Just because you think you are funny is no guarantee that you possess it.

       Try to ask your close friends. Please note the saying “Birds of the same

       feather flock together.” It is likely that because they are your friends, they

       may have a similar sense of humor.

   ·   What kind of sense of humor do you have?

       Is it positive and upbeat or on the sarcastic side?

   ·   Does your family have a sense of humor?

       It is most likely that you got your sense of humor from them. Your

       immediate family and relatives may have influenced you.
       When meeting a very important person, never entertain the thought that

you can fake your sense of humor. It does not work that way. If you feel that you

do not have a sense of humor, do not lose hope. Many possibilities exist to help

you acquire it. No one is a lost cause. We will discuss more about building up

and exercising that sense of humor in the next chapter.

       Now, we discuss that important ‘first date.’ Maybe a friend is trying to set

you up with someone. This means that you will meet that person for the first time

on a date. Naturally, you want to impress your date. You want to bring your best

foot forward. For starters, do not try too hard! Trying too hard to be funny and

amusing can turn off some people.

       There is no magic formula to transform you instantly into a witty and

amusing individual. Right now, you may not have a great sense of humor, but it

does not mean that you cannot develop one with some extra effort. Remember

that nothing great ever comes easily. Your sense of humor is like a muscle in

your body. It is never going to develop if you do not exercise it.

       You may never be a Debra Messing or a Sean Hayes but that does not

mean you cannot learn to be witty and amusing. The important element in

developing your humor muscle and in finding the perfect partner is this: You must

be REAL. Remember this: You cannot fake it. Just be honest and true to yourself

and others.

       Now, if you wish to find someone on your own, you need a plan. You can

place a charming personal ad online or offline. You can try one of the many
online dating services available. These dating services attempt to match people

with the perfect guy/gal. Recently, I read about a person who opened an account

in one of these online dating services. He directed interested parties to his

personal web site, where he introduced himself in much detail. With more space

in his site, he was able to display his wit and sense of humor to the interested

party.

         The great part about using an online dating service is that you have a

chance to learn new things about each other and get a feel of the other person’s

sense of humor. You will be able to determine whether you are compatible long

before you meet face to face.

         If his or her sense of humor leans more towards slapstick, while yours is

more on political satire, you may clash on other topics as well. If his or her sense

of humor borders on the sarcastic type and yours is more on word play, it could

present a problem. However, if you found out you have common interests and

enjoy similar types of jokes through email, you may have found your match.

Congratulations! You are ready to meet and swap funny stories in person!

         The venue of your first date or meeting is another important factor. Some

people are comfortable in a group setting, while others prefer a more personal

setting to get to know the other person better. Many times a double date is a

good way to help everyone feel more comfortable.

         Do you plan to see a movie on your first date? A Steve Martin comedy

might be a better choice than a horror or drama flick. It is better to get to know

someone over laughter than in tears.
       During your date, try to discover their humorous side. Look beyond their

physical attributes and get to know the real person inside. More importantly,

listen carefully. Humorous people are good listeners. This enables them to gather

more information about the different things that make other people laugh.

       While on a date, do not take yourself too seriously. People who can laugh

and poke fun at themselves are more fun to be with most of the time. You and

your date will feel more relaxed. Let the humor flow easily. Nothing is sadder

than watching someone trying hard to be funny. Remember that negative humor

is a real date killer. Telling off-color jokes is a no-no for a first date. For Heaven’s

sake, keep the humor appropriate and in good taste!

       Both men and women enjoy dating someone who makes them laugh.

Light-hearted people are more fun to be with and are likely to have more dates.

People, who are not necessarily physically attractive but are always happy and

smiling, are likely to have more dates. People feel more at ease and comfortable

with happy and constantly smiling people.

       “A smile is the curve that sets everything straight.” - Phyllis Diller
                            Chapter Two:
               How To Develop A Great Sense Of Humor
                       Let the Laughter Ring!

       “A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your

steps as you walk the tightrope of life.” - William A. Ward

       If you think you have no detectable sense of humor, it is possible to

develop it. If you know you have one but feel it is “underdeveloped”, you can

exercise it and get that sense of humor back in shape.

       To develop your sense of humor, it is important to go back to your past for

clues. You must know your self when it comes to developing that sense of

humor. Think back of your childhood and adolescence days. Answer these

questions:

   ·   Did you find your parents funny?

   ·   Did they tell jokes or funny stories?

   ·   Did they teach you that it was okay to laugh at yourself? This does not

       mean putting yourself down in a negative way, but laughing at your own

       quirks and foibles.

   ·   Did they tease each other in gentle non-damaging ways?

   ·   Were you the class clown and did you always tell jokes?

   ·   Did you have funny teachers and friends?

   ·   What television shows did you like as a kid? If you were a kid in the fifties,

       you might have watched “I Love Lucy”, “The Honeymooners”, “Three’s

       Company”, and “All in the Family”.
   ·   Did you enjoy political humor such as those employed by comics like Jon

       Stewart?

   ·   Have you ever been the only person in a movie theater that found a scene

       or dialogue funny? Maybe you see the humor that no one else does.

       Maybe it is the other way around and everyone is laughing except you?

   ·   What about your laughter, how does it sound? In the movie entitled “Mary

       Poppins”, Dick Van Dyke and Ed Wynn discuss the different types of

       laughter through a song. Is it a silent snicker or rousing belly laugh? Do

       you snigger, chortle, giggle, cackle, hoot, or guffaw?

   ·   What kind of comic strips do you enjoy? “Dilbert” pokes fun at the office

       scenario, while “Hi & Lois” and “The Family Circus” deal with the humor in

       family life. “The Wizard of Id” is medieval humor, while “Cathy” deals with

       women’s humor.



       Knowing more about yourself will help you to develop a sense of humor

and make you feel comfortable with your funny side.

       As your body needs to be toned in order to stay in shape, so does the

humor muscle. The more you exercise your sense of humor, the more you will

have a sharper wit. This will take time but it is well worth the work. Most of us can

be reasonably amusing when we are with friends and relatives, but there is

always room for improvement.

       Nurture your sense of humor and feed it with funny movies, songs, books,

and television. Go to the humor section of your local bookstore and see the
wonderful assortment of funny materials available. Start collecting amusing jokes

that you can use to help lighten a moment. Just remember to keep it clean. Off-

color jokes will not win friends and influence people. Try reading the amusing

poetry of Ogden Nash. He found a way to laugh at the world around him. For

example, he wrote:

                                   I think that I shall never see

                                   A poem as lovely as a tree.

                                Indeed, unless the billboards fall,

                                   I will never see a tree at all.

       To help develop your sense of humor, try reading humorous books. Dave

Barry will have you rolling in the aisles from the first sentence of any of his many

books. The same goes for anything that Erma Bombeck wrote. Check your local

library for humorous literature and start finding the lighter side of life.

       By surrounding yourself with amusing materials, finding the funny side of

everyday life, and be funny, humor will soon become second nature. Create an

environment of humor in your life. Take those problems that come your way and

flip them to see the funny side. Give those troubles a little spin and learn to laugh

at them. You will soon learn to handle those problems and reduce stress.

       Another way of nurturing the funny side of your personality is to hang out

with humorous, lighthearted, and fun-loving people. Spending too much time with

overly serious folks is exhausting. The same goes for people who are highly

negative about everything. If you will allow it, they will soon drag you down to

their depressed level. Refuse to become depressed and sad. Just say no!
Hanging out with fun-loving people will bring out your own fun-loving side.

Remember that people like those who laugh a lot and obviously enjoy life. Be

one of those folks.

        You can laugh at yourself. It is also okay to laugh at situations. It does not

make you look silly or foolish. When you can laugh at yourself, it shows that you

are secure about who you are and what you want. It actually shows strength of

character. Everyone makes mistakes and it is perfectly all right to laugh at

yourself when you do. It shows other people that it is okay for them to make

mistakes. It is not the end of the world.

        In relationships, humor is extremely important and adds a completely new

dimension. When couples are happy together, the relationship blossoms and it

becomes rewarding to both parties.

        Just remember that when you are adding humor to an occasion, it must be

appropriate. Some people are offended when they hear raucous laughter in a

funeral. This presents a lesson for us -- not to take life too seriously. After all, we

will never get out of it alive.

        What keeps most people from really loosening up and telling jokes is the

fear that they will mess up the story. They are afraid that they might forget the

punch line or tell the joke badly. A little rehearsal is in order if you are not used to

telling jokes. Stand in front of a mirror and run through the story, bring out all

parts of the joke, and give that punch line some punch. Rehearse that joke a

couple of times. Try it out on close friends and observe their reactions, before

you test it in a public venue. The next time you are in a party or out with friends
or family, relax and run the joke through your mind before telling it aloud. Make

sure you have not forgotten any important parts to the joke. Take a deep breath

and just jump right in.

       If no one laughs, it does not mean that you did not tell the joke properly.

Perhaps you have found a group of folks that have a different sense of humor.

They did not get the joke and you have to explain it. Of course, that ruins the

entire joke. However, you should not feel bad about it. Comedians call that kind

of group a “tough room.” Try the joke on another group. The same joke could

have the next group rolling in the aisles.

       Develop your own unique sense of humor by learning to play. Yes, you

read that correctly. You must learn to play, have fun, laugh, and act silly. Develop

a sense of fun and humor will follow, just as night follows day.

       Try visiting a toy store to see the vast array of ways to have fun. Find a toy

you like or maybe one that you can remember from childhood. Buy it and recall

the fun you used to have playing with it as a child.

       The best way to learn how to have fun is to hang out with kids, grandkids,

or nieces or nephews. Kids naturally know how to have fun. There is a big

difference between being childish and being childlike. We will discuss more about

kids and a sense of humor in the next chapter.

       Develop your sense of humor and use it to your advantage. Use humor to

create a happy conclusion for yourself.
                              Chapter Three
                    The Family That Laughs Together…
                           Raising Funny Kids

       “A sense of humor…is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some

laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good

grasp of life.” - Hugh Sidey

       Our families -- don’t we love them? They make life fun and make us feel

more secure. They are our biggest fans and critics.

       Dealing with family is different from dealing with friends. Sometimes, we

let our friends get away with things. Getting along with our friends is easy most

days. If they irritate us, we can always just leave. However, we cannot do that

with our families for they will be always with us all the time. Even the most loving

family may get on each other’s nerves, because they spend more hours together

than with friends. Humor can help strengthen the family. If used improperly, it can

also tear a family apart.

       Even in the happiest of families, you will find occasional bursts of temper,

aggressive feelings, and tension. Humor, when used properly, can help dispel

problems. It helps if parties sit down and discuss things calmly and rationally.

Humor serves as a safety valve when tempers flare.

       We need to feel good about ourselves. The family can provide the

atmosphere where we can relax and be ourselves. The family should be more

accepting than the outside world. At the end of the day, it is such a relief to come

home and relax. We all wear a mask when we are out in the world. Society
expects us to behave in a certain way, say certain things, and respond the

expected way. At home, we can be in our normal selves because we are with

people who love and accept us just the way we are, warts and all. Since the

home is a soft place to fall, it is important to treat each other’s feelings carefully.

Humor can serve as a cushion so as not to affect the self-esteem of other family

members.

       If you want to survive parenthood, you must have a terrific sense of

humor! You will need it when you see your teenage son drinking directly from the

milk container or when your three-year old practices his artistic skills on the

newly painted dining room walls.

       Yelling at a teenager does no good whatsoever. They will just stare and

wonder why you are so frustrated. Getting angry at a three-year old will not erase

that masterpiece in your wall. A little chat about the proper medium to use for

painting might be in order. Do not forget to take a photograph of the

“masterpiece” on the wall before you clean or repaint it. Who knows, it might be

worth a fortune some day, when he is already a rich and famous artist.

       Children may be one of the funniest things in your entire life. When they

grow up, their antics will become the basis for the funny family stories. You will

laugh together and relate those stories to their children. Laughter in the family is

as important as any other show of affection. Hugging, kissing, and laughing are

what your children will remember best.

       While teaching your children their ABCs, numbers, spelling, reading, and

writing, it is just as important to teach them how to be funny and develop their
own sense of humor. When it comes to coping up with problems in life as a

parent, humor becomes a lifeline. You must teach your children how to find the

funny side of life.

       In the movie “Regarding Henry,” Henry’s daughter, while sitting at the

breakfast table, accidentally spills her glass of juice. She looks at her father

terrified of his reaction. She is expecting that her father will yell at her for this

deed. Instead, he says, “That is okay, I do it all the time, see?” With that, he tips

over his own glass spilling orange juice all over the table. There is a moment of

silence and then everyone laughs. The little girl relaxes; knowing it is okay.

       Indeed, you can use sense of humor to offset moments like this in a

family. Stuff happens; you might as well laugh about it. Your children see you as

an authority figure, but it is also important that they see you as human too, with

the quirks and foibles that all humans possess.

       It is important to teach a child that coping up with humor is better than just

reacting with anger just when things do not go as planned. This is an important

lesson in life, a lesson that you would want them to take with them into

adulthood. They will eventually teach this to their own children. A sense of humor

is a great family legacy. Start now.

       You must set an example on how to see the funny side of life. Here is an

example. A young husband, who is also a father of two little children, came home

one night after a hard day in his office. Everything went wrong! Traffic on the way

home was horrible and it took twice as long to get there. To top matters off, he

ran over one of the kids’ tricycles in the driveway. He was fuming as he opened
the front door and began yelling, “I’ve told you boys a hundred times not to leave

your tricycles in the driveway!” His wife stepped in front of him, looked over his

shoulder, past the open door, and asked sweetly, “Did you, by any chance, see

my husband as you came in? He’s such a sweet guy, and I’m expecting him any

minute.” He stopped dead still and stared at her for a second, then saw the

humor of the situation and began laughing, at which point the whole family joined

him in the laughter.

       It is essential that you strike a balance in your work and home. Let us say

your day has worsened, but you managed to deal with your co-workers and boss

with wit and light-heartedness. However, on your way home, do you beat yourself

up over some mistake you made? How do you react when your spouse asks,

“How was your day?” Do you actually tell her every little detail of the whole day?

Do you mix a cocktail drink and proceed to fill her in detail by detail?

       Perhaps, it is time to bring in that sense of humor. If it helped you sail

through your workday, it can help you go through the night. Lighten up. Flip that

bad moment at work and transform it into a funny incident. Find a funny side and

spin a tale for your loved ones. It sure beats blaming your family. After all, it is not

their fault that you had an imperfect day.

       It is never too early to start teaching your children to develop their own

sense of humor. Studies show that babies learn to laugh as early as four months

old and toddlers laugh as many as four hundred times a day. Adults are lucky if

they laugh fifteen times in a day. Unfortunately, as children grow up they hear

things like, “What are you laughing at?” or “Wipe that smile off your face right this
minute!” Adults say the most confusing things to children, “For Heaven’s sake,

act your age!” That is exactly what they are trying to do, but we nip it in the bud!

        Babies, of course, do not really understand what humor is all about, but

they do recognize that it is a good thing when they see you smiling and laughing.

They will even try to imitate you. They respond when you tickle them or blow

raspberries on their tummies. Bill Cosby calls them ‘zerberts.’ Kids love it!

        Studies have shown that babies, even those as young as one week old,

smile in their sleep. Most parents dismiss this as simply gas. In reality, it is a

spontaneous activity in the central nervous system. As children grow older, they

smile more often while they are awake.

        Even as young as nine to fifteen months, children recognize unexpected

things, such as putting something silly on your head or making silly noises, as

funny. They love games like peek-a-boo and will laugh repeatedly when you play

games with them.

        From ages one through age five, children enjoy funny cartoons, especially

slapstick, pratfalls, silly made up words and nursery rhymes, and those with

characters that giggle. Bodily noises cause positive reaction at this age. Also

considered funny at this stage are pictures and sounds. Animals making

unrelated noises elicit laughter. Children at this age also try to make their parents

laugh by doing something unexpected. They stomp around the house in big

shoes or fall down and roll on the floor. They watch you carefully after an antic to

discover what makes you laugh. Then, they will repeat it as often as you continue

to laugh at it.
       Children ages six through nine are pranksters, so watch out for practical

jokes! They also make up silly answers to questions like, “I’m sure glad I’m not a

bird.” When asked why, you could hear answers like, “Because I don’t know how

to fly, silly!” They love telling simple jokes at this age and will repeat them

repeatedly, especially if you keep laughing at them.

       Riddles are a favorite for the nine to twelve-year-old children. They love

the application of abstract thinking to riddles and jokes, such as knock-knock and

elephant jokes. They take great delight in telling these to anybody and everybody

who will stand still a moment and listen.

       When it comes to teenagers, those who are twelve to fourteen years old,

get ready for word play and puns. Examples of such include, “Gee, Mom, you do

know that headache is all in your mind!” Believe me, it gets worse before it gets

better, but they are learning and that is more important.

       From ages fifteen and up, you will hear more humor that is satirical and

anecdotal. This is because they are developing logic and the ability to make

judgments while learning the ins and outs of the language. This age is harder to

take, as they tend to make their parents and siblings the butt of their jokes. You

must be patient as they are learning how to use humor in order to handle tricky

situations.

       There are many reasons why you should encourage your child’s sense of

humor. There is an intellectual benefit as your child learns new words and

meanings. Discovering many words with more than one meaning is exciting to

children. It gives them so much more to work with in their word play fun.
       Give your child a boost in their reading skills by introducing joke books

and riddles. He/she may read that same book repeatedly, taking delight in telling

those jokes and riddles to their friends and family.

       Humor can stimulate creative thinking, since children spend time learning

new words, meanings, riddles, and word games. They will even take this skill

with them into the work world as adults.

       Humor can even help your child enhance their social skills. Research

shows that children who use humor in their lives are more likely to be active

participants in school activities. Their peers and their teachers perceive them as

more sociable. Humor is a useful skill that can help them in their adult lives and

relationships. A child with good communication skills will go far in life.

       Educators agree that a child with a well-developed sense of humor

possesses a more acceptable means of expressing emotions, including anger. A

child who learns how to manage his or her own emotions will have a happy adult

life. Therefore, you should impart to your children two important skills:

   ·   the ability to laugh and see the humor in any situation

   ·   the ability to use humor to cope up with the stress in life

       So, how do you help your children develop their sense of humor? Start

while they are babies by playing with them more often. As they grow older, buy

amusing books to read, such as those by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. Laugh

with them while watching funny sitcoms on television and take them to funny and

age-appropriate movies. Praise them when they are humorous and encourage
them in their attempts at humor. Listening to their laughter is one of life’s simple

pleasures.

           Discourage the use of inappropriate humor. Avoid put-downs, racist jokes,

or sexist humor. Explain to your children how others will feel if these kinds of

humor are directed at them. Be a good example to children. Teach them that any

jokes, made at someone else’s expense, are definitely not funny and are very

hurtful.

           Humor is a great way of communicating with your children. This is one

effective way to teach them valuable lessons and help them learn to cope with

life. Teach your children to use humor to reduce stress and communicate with

others peaceably. Humor can be used so they will avoid being crushed down by

life’s events. They can use it to make them happy and feel good. Teach them to

use humor to make others feel good. Children, who use humor to deal with life,

will grow up well-adjusted, self-confident, and happy adults. Remember that your

children are watching you carefully for clues on how to handle life, problems, and

other people. Set a good example for your children.

           While you are at it, let some of their humor stuff rub off on you. Be playful.

Read the comics section of the newspaper and refuse to read the ‘dumb’ stuff.

Eat Oreo cookies kid style: First, lick off the cream, and then dunk it in milk. Run

through the sprinklers with your clothes on or visit a carnival more often.

           Br’er Rabbit said, “Everybody’s got a laughin’ place. Trouble is most folks

won’t take the time to look for it!” Encourage your children to find their own

‘laughin’ place and join them there often for some fun.
      “Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator,

but among those I love I can; all of them make me laugh.” - W.H. Auden
                      Chapter Four
    A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Office:
          Learn to Find the Funny Side of Work

       “Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.” - Proverb

       Every morning, millions of people get up, get dressed, and drag

themselves to their respective offices. They sit on their desks; do their work until

they are bored stiff because someone told them they had to be serious about

their professions. As adults, we are all told to be serious, keep our noses to the

grindstone, and work hard. The trouble with this is that we get bored and tired

with a sore nose to boot!

       It is important to get the work done; otherwise, you could find yourself with

no job at all. This is where humor can save you from the drudgery of work.

Humor helps you deal with all kinds of stress and recover from misfortune or

traumatic changes in your life. Without a sense of humor, the events in life would

soon crush your spirit. With humor in your life, you can bounce back from

adversity faster and easier.

       As far as your job or career is concerned, humor is an absolute necessity.

This does not mean that you should take your job lightly. It is okay to be

passionate about your work and put in long hours if necessary, as long as you

allow yourself to see the humorous side of whatever you are doing.

       Remember that humor and laughter are contagious. Laughter releases

tension in almost any situation. In situations requiring humor, it is important to

make sure that your witticisms are appropriate to the situation. Embarrassing
someone, using foul language, or trivializing things held valuable by others are

not funny, not even a little bit. Making others look weak and ineffectual is not

funny. Ostracizing others and using them as the butt of jokes is not funny.

       Laughing at your self is a safe way to introduce humor at the workplace. It

shows self-confidence in your skills, your ability to admit your mistakes, and that

you can laugh about it and bounce right back. Besides showing how secure you

feel about yourself, it makes others feel comfortable working with you. Being

light-hearted gives the signal to others that they can approach you and discuss

important topics with ease.

       By introducing humor into your workplace and keeping the humor

appropriate, you are sending the message to others that it is okay to be funny,

just not at someone else’s expense. You set the tone.

       Winston Churchill once said, “I love my job, it’s the work I hate.” Humor

makes the workplace more relaxed and comfortable. You may not be crazy about

what you do, but it does not mean that you have to endure eight hours of

discomfort in the workplace. People who are happy at work tend to be absent

less often. They are less distracted and bored.

       Some dull-witted person once said that if you are having fun, you are not

working. This could not be further from the truth. When people enjoy their work,

they are eager to go to the office each day, they cannot wait to get started.

However, this does not refer to a workaholic. Working for the sake of it is not the

same as loving what you do and enjoying the work.
       When you enjoy what you do, your stress level is very low. You also

become a better worker and take pride in doing an excellent job. Others love to

be around you when you are light-hearted and full of laughter. People with enjoy

working with you if you are energetic, creative, funny, and upbeat.

       Surveys on humor in the workplace have shown that people with well-

developed sense of humor simply do better at their jobs, as compared with those

possessing little or no sense of humor at all. Of the American executives

surveyed, ninety-six percent agreed that humorous people just do better. The

survey also stated that those with great sense of humor keep their jobs even

during tough times. Some even climb up the corporate ladder faster than those

people with limited sense of humor.

       Many people feel that if they are upbeat and humorous at work, others will

not take them seriously. Some people fear others will be easily offended. This

may be true if your co-workers perceive you as the office clown, always joking

around at inappropriate moments, or using humor not suited to the occasion. The

trick is to find subtle ways at initiating humor in the workplace.

       You do not need to be the Robin Williams of your office. Subtlety is more

effective than pratfalls and practical jokes in the workplace. Initially, you may use

moderation and learn to respect other people’s boundaries. It is possible that

others fear that they will become the butt of your jokes, so proceed cautiously.

When things occur in the office, try to put a spin on them and look at the

humorous side of the situation.
       If you can help relieve stress in the office without offending others, you

can actually help boost their morale and improve communication between

workers and the boss. Showing others how to be light-hearted in the workplace

will build their self-confidence; eventually making them better workers.

       Always remember that there is a time and place for everything. Pratfalls or

practical jokes in the middle of a staff meeting is inappropriate, but a little gentle

humor could lighten the occasion and help facilitate the proceedings. People

think more clearly if they are happy and this makes everyone more efficient. A

happy worker is a productive worker.

       Humor can help solve many problems in the work place, especially when

you:

   ·   Need to make a particular point in a meeting

   ·   Need to defuse a tense situation in the office

   ·   Need to find a way to connect with a co-worker

   ·   Need to find a suitable way to settle an argument

   ·   Need to resist aggressive or defensive responses

   ·   Want to avoid confrontations



       Try a little humor to lighten serious moments. Humor is a motivating factor

than criticism or accusations. You will discover that laughter in the office is a

great management tool.

       Teamwork is easier and more productive when humor is a part of the

routine. Every good team has inside or private jokes. The team will connect and
bond with one another. How do you come up with those inside jokes? They might

laugh about difficult clients, impossible deadlines, long meetings, or computer

problems. Each member of the team can help find the lighter side of office

pressures, commiserating, and encouraging each other.

       A study by Israeli psychologist Avner Ziv shows that the team that

engages in playful and humorous fun, prior to a brainstorming session, will

actually stimulate creative thinking.

       However, there are a few types of humor to avoid altogether. These are

inappropriate in the work place. One such type is ‘bathroom humor.’ This type of

humor could send the wrong message to co-workers about who you are. It

should be discouraged at all costs.

       Avoid jokes about the boss, company, or its product or service. Making fun

of people and their jobs is not funny. Likewise, you should avoid any jokes about

religion, gender, or racial-related issues. Jokes that offend others are not

humorous. Surely, you will not make friends and influence people with that kind

of indelicate behavior.

       Your sense of humor, however, offers a powerful means of establishing

and maintaining your authority. It helps you set the tone, if you are the boss or

supervisor. Humor is essential to help you deal with cranky co-workers or crabby

clients.

       One company creatively used humor when they had to send many

reminders to a client about his bill:
          “You’re an important client, but your bill is long overdue — we’ve carried

you longer than your mother did!”

          Attitude is the main ingredient in humor. Instead of seeing everyday

problems, flip them around and find the funny side. Do not take everything so

seriously. Truly confident people can laugh at themselves. It tells others that you

are human like them and they can have the confidence to laugh at themselves,

too.

          In a rigid office, this may be a great way to inject a little humor into the

workday. Even if you find yourself laughing all alone, do not worry. Your attitude

is what counts. Go ahead and just be the happy and humorous person that you

are. Laugh even if no one else does. Smile and the world will wonder about your

next moves.

          A sense of light-heartedness can help put people and their problems into a

better perspective. Appropriate humor allows you to maintain your

professionalism, while you concentrate on doing the important matters.

          In ‘Laughter Prescription’, Lawrence J. Peter and Bill Dana wrote, ”Realize

that a sense of humor is deeper than laughter, more satisfying than comedy, and

delivers more rewards than merely being entertaining. A sense of humor sees

the fun in everyday experiences. It is more important to have fun than it is to be

funny.”

          Bear in mind that you may have to convince the naysayer in your office

about the use of humor. Just because you are amusing, it does not mean that

you are not getting the job done or you tolerate mediocre work. Humor is just a
way of coping up with the dreariness of work. It is a way to make you more

productive.

       Start putting together a little library of humorous quotes and jokes, funny

sayings, and old proverbs. Look through the local library for humorous literature.

For office humor, you cannot beat Scott Adams and his hilarious “Dilbert” comic

strips. It is now compiled and available in book form. Just watch out in comparing

your boss to the ‘pointy-haired’ boss in the strip. Keep the humor in good taste at

all times.

       If you have an office of your own, or even just a cubicle, put up a bulletin

board and tack funny cartoons, comic strips, photos, funny signs, and bumper

stickers. See if your boss will let you set up a bulletin board in the break room,

where everyone can contribute their favorites. It is a good conversation starter.

       Do you want to become a good communicator in meetings? Try injecting a

little humor into your discussions. Dull and dry get-togethers will put people to

sleep. Get and keep their attention by showing your sense of humor. Bear in

mind that it is your attitude not your circumstances that make you happy and

humorous. Spread it around.

       Do you think that your own life isn’t very funny? Think again!

       Amusing things happen all the time. Maybe you just did not recognize

them as funny because your sense of humor is not yet fully developed. Maybe

you just did not see the funny side.

       Picture your life as a sitcom rather than a soap opera and start looking for

the funny happenings. You will be surprised and delighted and you will laugh a
lot more. Write them down and retell them to friends and co-workers. You will

soon have everyone, including yourself, laughing every day. You may notice that

funny things begin to happen more frequently, once you are really paying

attention to every humorous detail.

       “Comedy has to be based on truth. You take the truth and you put a little

curlicue at the end.” - Sid Caesar
                           Chapter Five
            How to Use Humor to Communicate Effectively
                         Humor Says It All!

       “Humor is the affectionate communication of insight.” - Leo Rosten

       Whether you are speaking at a staff meeting, seminar, or conference,

using humor can help communicate information more effectively to your

audience. Humor makes your audience feel relaxed and comfortable. Humor is a

handy tool to keep their attention. If you notice the audience with their eyes

glazed over, try throwing out a little unexpected humor and watch their reactions.

Find a common denominator with those listening to you; just show your natural

and human side and they will listen more to what you have to say.



Humor As A Way Of Reaching Out To Your Audience

       Humor can also help you approach sensitive subjects without making your

listeners uncomfortable. Watch your words and phrase things carefully. Realize

that you can handle sensitive issues with good taste. Be extremely careful with

humor when dealing with sensitive issues to avoid offending your listeners.

       If you are speaking to a not-so-friendly group, humor can defuse the

tension and make them less hostile towards you and your message. Believe me;

you can effectively use humor if you find yourself in front of a group of people

who dislikes the topic and/or you. Let us be realistic about this. There will be

instances when your audience will not love you. There will be instances when

people will show their dislike for your assigned topic.
       When they enter a seminar room, they take with them some preconceived

notions about you and the topic. These notions can affect their reactions. Your

role as speaker is to break through these misconceived notions and win them to

your side. Humor is one effective tool to break down those barriers and

resistance. It is difficult for your audience to disagree when they are laughing and

having fun. Spin it so they will realize that you are actually on their side and not

against them.

       Humor can also help you tackle a complicated topic. The more

complicated your message, the more you need humor to help introduce the topic

and make the audience more receptive and open. Humor sets the tone for your

talk. It helps relax the audience. A relaxed setting makes learning fun and easier.

It helps if you can simplify what you have to say and make it more

comprehensible to your audience.

       Acknowledge that the topic is complicated and assure them that you will

do your best to make it simple and fun to learn. You want to identify with your

audience and humor is the way to do just that. It is easier for them to connect

with you if they can see you are human like them. Humor makes you more

approachable.



Using Humor To Break The Ice

       So you go ahead with your talk and at some point, you realize that your

message is not being understood by your audience for whatever reason. It may

be that the room is not comfortable or the crowd is too big and unmanageable. It
is possible that the people in the audience cannot give you their one hundred

percent attention, for they are worried because the company is in the midst of

cutting the budget and benefits. It is also possible that they are cautious because

the big boss is with them or simply because they exhibited extreme dislike and

disinterest in your topic. Break the ice by using appropriate humor.

       Assure your audience that you are working for a common cause, such as

the survival of the organization. Remind your audience that they should not shoot

the messenger. If you are part of top management whose responsibility is to look

into creative ways of limiting benefits, you may have to learn to be very funny

quickly!

       Do not be too flippant about a topic, especially if it is a sensitive one or it

involves the lives of people. In this situation, you can use humor to lighten the

mood and make them receptive to what you have to say. A witty answer to an

angry question is fine.

       When you are trying to sell an idea, product, or service to a group, humor

is even more important. If you make them laugh, they are more likely to listen to

what you have to say. Humor can make some messages easier to accept. Open

your discussion with anecdotes or funny personal stories. The idea is to become

witty and not come across as a boastful and know-it-all person. This will surely

turn off people and it will be very difficult for you to sell whatever you are selling.

       During tense moments, try using a comedic comparison to help your

audience relate. Compare the awkward moment with say an ‘I Love Lucy’

episode. If you find yourself in a rush and trying to meet deadlines, think of the
Candy Episode. The candies to be wrapped are coming down the assembly line

faster and faster. Picture yourself cramming the candies in your pockets and your

mouth. Then, if you remember, the supervisor yells, “You’re doing great, let’s

speed the line up.”

        Some people, whose job description includes public speaking as part of

their work life, have apprehensions about using humor in their speeches. They

think that if they joke a lot, their co-workers will not take them seriously. They

think that this will severely affect their credibility.

        Is this the same case with you? Maybe you think you are no good at telling

jokes or unsure about injecting humor in your talks. Perhaps, you are afraid that

you will look foolish and no one will laugh.

        Before you start adding jokes to your speeches, consider carefully who will

be your audience. Jokes and funny stories should be appropriate to your

listeners and to the occasion itself. The old ‘farmer’s daughter’ joke will not go

well at the Ladies’ Garden Club meeting.

        Do you want to win them over and make them more receptive to your

message? Involve the audience in your humor. I do not mean make fun of them

or make a member of your audience the butt of jokes. Personalize your humor to

fit your audience and the message you are attempting to relay. Make them a part

of the message. Take a lesson from the most successful comics. Involve your

listeners and make them relate and understand what you are saying. Noel

Coward once said, “Wit ought to be a glorious treat, like caviar. Never spread it

about like marmalade.”
       If you want to master this technique, study Bob Hope. He is the best

example of a person who takes the time (and is always successful!) to relate to

the audience by involving them in the message. He performed for enlisted men

all over the world for several decades. He would make jokes about the food in

the military, the officers, or anything else related to the lives of the soldiers that

he was entertaining.

       Before dropping humor into your public speaking engagements, ask about

the type of gathering where you will be speaking. Is it a seminar, an industry

convention, or a sales conference? Where is the venue? Will it be in your own

hometown, in a resort city, or maybe some place like Las Vegas?

       You can add some humorous remarks about the city itself or tourist

hangouts, etc. If you are in an unfamiliar city, do a little research and find out

what is happening in that city. What is on everyone’s mind or heart in that

region? What is the main interest or preoccupation of the people in that city?

That, my friend, is grist for the humor mill.

       Adjust your humor to the industry, ethnic group, social group, or

organization to which you are speaking. Avoid the faux pas of the late President

Franklin D. Roosevelt when he addressed the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR)

with the words, “Fellow Immigrants…”

       Another important variable to consider when planning a speech is the

gender composition of your audience. According to Michael Iapoce, (Founder of

Michael Iapoce Associates, a humor-consulting firm based in San Anselmo, CA),

an all-male audience is the toughest to crack when it comes to humor. Women
tend to laugh more easily than men do. Our society has effectively conditioned

men to avoid being silly or foolish. It is all part of the ‘big boys don’t cry’

syndrome. Apparently, big boys do not laugh either.

       Brush up on your pop culture knowledge, keeping in mind that the broader

your knowledge on the subject, the better your jokes will be. Bone up on the most

popular funny television shows and movies. However, be careful of stealing

someone else’s material. Rather than stealing a joke from Ray Romano and

passing it off as your own, acknowledge your source. After the audience has

roared with laughter over the joke, tell them that you are glad they liked it and

you will let Ray know that his material did well with the audience that evening.

       Professional humor always does well at conventions. Lawyers,

accountants, scientists, bankers, doctors, and even driving instructors provide

humorous fodder for the public speaker. Here a little harmless poking of fun at a

group rather than an individual will bring in the laughter.

       An effective way of conveying information to your audience is the use of

stories or parables. Great speakers use this technique with great success for

centuries. Stories are useful for illustrating a point and making it more vivid. The

more memorable your story is, the more persuasive your message will be.

       When it comes to public speaking, it is more important to make your point,

clarify your message humorously than to just tell jokes. The idea is to get and

hold their attention, convey your message, and make it memorable. To make it

memorable, jokes and parables must be directly related to the message you want

to convey.
       Another excellent way to convey information in a humorous manner is the

ever-popular ‘good news, bad news’ kind of jokes. An example of that type of

humor is as follows:

       While flying over the Pacific Ocean, the pilot got on the intercom and said,

“Attention passengers. I have some good news and some bad news. The bad

news is we are totally lost and I have no idea where we are. The good news is

that we’re way ahead of schedule.”

       One important element about humor for any public speaker or performer is

timing. Timing is everything. Too many speakers set up the joke well, tell the

story, paint the picture for the audience, but then rush the ending. Always pause

before the punch line. The audience listens and sees in their mind’s eye the

picture you have painted for them or they wrap their minds around the idea you

have presented. Then you deliver the punch line. Jack Benny used to say that,

“Timing is not so much knowing when to speak, but knowing when to pause.”

       After you have delivered the joke, the hardest and the most nerve-

wracking part comes -- waiting for the audience reaction and expecting laughter.

Whatever you do, do not rush into the next item of your speech.

       Comics call that “stepping on the joke”. This will ruin the joke. It will

destroy the impact of the joke. Although there is a long pause before the

laughter, do not be tempted to laugh at your own joke. Professional comics never

join in the laughter.
       The great comic Bob Hope taps his microphone and say, “Is this thing

on?” George Burns would puff on his cigar while waiting for the audience to

respond and for the laughter to die down.



Comedians Vs. Public Speakers

       The biggest difference between professional comedians and regular public

speakers is simple — the audience expects the comics to make them laugh and

they can be tough if they do not get what they want. They paid to hear funny

material and by golly, that is what they expect to hear.

       However, no one expects the public speaker to be funny. The

expectations are completely different. When the public speaker turns out to be

amusing, the audience is pleasantly surprised and they normally react with

appreciation.

       Surprise your audience with your creative and humorous side. Follow this

simple sequence of steps:

       1. Learn to relax

       2. Be playful

       3. Set up your story or joke

       4. Watch your timing

       5. Pause for effect

       6. Hit your audience the punch line
       Stand-up comics and jesters all have their place in our world. Do not feel

that you have to strive to be one of them. Just pepper your speeches with

enough humor to get and keep your audience’s attention.

       A great way to practice is by joining a Toastmaster’s Club. This club

provides the opportunity to practice in front of an audience. This is also a chance

to practice humor in your public speaking engagements and gauge the

audience’s reaction on your material. The meetings will help you develop and

hone your public speaking skills and give you a chance to practice some jokes

and stories.



Be Prepared: Accidents Do Happen!

       The key is to become more observant. Try to observe everything and

everyone around you. It is a good idea to have some humorous material ready in

case of unexpected circumstances. If the equipment fails to operate or the lights

go out suddenly, have some funny ad lib ready to lighten the mood. As crazy as it

sounds, it is possible to be prepared for spontaneity. Audiences love it when you

come up with something spontaneous about them or the occasion.

       Even the best-prepared public speakers find themselves facing

unforeseen difficulties. Lights refuse to switch on, sound equipment malfunctions,

or presentation does not work just because of plain and simple human error. In

such instances, it is better to have some ad-libs and be prepared just in case.

       Let us say you are so nervous, you forgot your next line or lose your train

of thought. Do not panic. These happen to people. Have you come across
singers who forget their lyrics? It happens to even well known performers and

speakers.

         How do you cover that long pause while recovering your train of thought?

What ad lib can you use and still appear amusing? What do you do to avoid

appearing nervous and be able to reconnect with the audience? How about this:

         “Okay, I gave this speech last week. Does anyone remember what I said

next?”

         What happens if you become so nervous is that you slip into a confused

state, give a garbled speech, and mess up a sentence. To remedy this, consider

these:

         “I’m so sorry, but I seem to have left my translator in the last city I visited.”

         “Sorry, I just washed my lips and I can’t do a thing with them.”

         Any public speaker has probably encountered problems with the

microphone. It malfunctions just as you step up to the podium and greet your

audience. Try these as ad-libs:

         “That’s what I get for buying my sound equipment from the Salvation

         Army.”

         “Actually, some people say my speeches are much better this way.”

         Public speakers often have to deal with people in the audience chattering

away while they are trying to give their speech. How do you handle the

chatterboxes?

         “Excuse me, I only have a few minutes here to make a fool of myself,

you’ve got the rest of your life.”
       “Sorry, but I work alone.”

       While we are on this topic, let us talk about the simplest, most

spontaneous, and contagious type of communication ever devised. It is so

simple, even a child can do it! It requires no special lessons or instructions, but

you should practice it every day without fail. It has the power to alter your day

and attitude almost instantaneously. What is this most powerful device? Why, it is

a Smile!

       A smile can spread from person to person without a second thought. In

fact, if you want to make a person’s day, smile at them and then tell them what a

great smile they have. I guarantee you that they will smile for the rest of the day

at everyone they meet.

       Look in your mirror. Is that the way you look at others? Do you look tense

and drawn? Now, smile at yourself. Do you see the difference? You probably

even look younger. A bright smile can make you look younger, well rested, and

friendlier. Who needs a facelift? Just smile more often!

       “We are not amused!” - Queen Victoria of England
                                Chapter Six
                   Doctor, Doctor, It Hurts When I Do This!
                    Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine

       “Let the surgeon take care to regulate the whole regime of the patient’s life

for joy and happiness, allowing his relatives and special friends to cheer him, and

by having someone tell him jokes. The surgeon must rebel against anger, hatred,

and sadness in the patient and remind him that the body grows fat from joy and

thin from sadness.” - Henri de Mondeville

       It is true that laughter is the best medicine. Many studies prove it

conclusively. It actually helps boost the immune system, lowers blood pressure,

helps muscles to relax, and can drastically reduce stress. Doctors say that

laughter increases our tolerance for pain and helps speed the healing process.

       According to psychologists, having a sense of humor aids your mental

health, as well. Having a well-honed sense of humor enables you to see the

funny side of problems, which in turn causes you to see the more positive side of

life and health.

       Being optimistic and happy and having a sense of fun brings out the more

courageous aspects of a person. When it comes to battling illness, having a

sense of humor makes it easier to bear.

       Seeing the lighter side of life gives you a completely different outlook and

improves your attitude in life. A sense of humor makes adversities easier to bear.

It aids us by making it easier to move forward even in the face of difficulties.
Think of a bamboo tree in the middle of the storm. Having a sense of humor

makes you more likely to bend than to break when confronted by life’s storms.

       Laughter releases energy that makes you feel good. Besides making you

feel good physically, it also blows the cobwebs away and helps you to think more

clearly. Laughing every day can help rid of depression and sadness.

       The person with good mental health has better self-esteem and is more

sociable and comfortable around others. A happy person is usually instrumental

in creating warm and compassionate families. A good mental health allows a

person to bounce back from traumatic events more easily and quickly. A good

sense of humor can bring this all about. The ability to laugh easily is a wonderful

gift that you must nurture.

       So, what can laughter do for you physically?

   ·   Reduces muscle tension

   ·   Increases the flow of oxygen to the blood

   ·   Exercises the cardiovascular region

   ·   Produces endorphin

   ·   Lowers blood pressure

   ·   Exercises the diaphragm (the large muscle that separates the chest cavity

       from the abdominal cavity) every time you laugh. Because of the

       movement, the surrounding organs, such as the kidneys, liver, and

       stomach benefit from this ‘massage.’

   ·   Burns calorie, as laughing hard is equivalent to several minutes on a

       rowing machine or exercise bike.
       Because of laughter, you feel more cheerful and happy. This is a side

effect of endorphins produced in your body. Laughter releases endorphins in the

pleasure centers of your brain, which give you a feeling of natural high.

       When you encounter a problem or an illness, you tend to focus on that

issue to the detriment of your mind and body. Whenever you have a problem, it is

uppermost in your mind and takes over your thoughts and energy. It can make

you sad, lethargic, and depressed.

       Laughter enables you to push aside the problems you might be facing,

whether it is emotional or physical. It redirects your focus away from the problem

and lifts your spirits. Laughter leads you to a higher plane where you can

experience hopefulness, pleasant thoughts, and happiness.

       While you are laughing, you banish those problems albeit temporarily. It

provides respite from negative emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, or

depression. When you laugh, you raise your self above all that and breathe in air,

which results to a clear mind. Suddenly, the sun is shining and hopefulness

returns. It is a wonderful feeling that you can reproduce any time you want, just

by simply laughing. Laughter can actually improve your quality of life.

       If you are feeling blue, put on a movie. Stay away from drama and pop in

a great comedy. Have fun, laugh with abandon, and enjoy the moment. Forget

about everything else and just concentrate on the movie and the fun you are

having.

       The well-known publisher and editor, Norman Cousins, had a personal

experience with the healing power of humor. His doctors diagnosed him with a
degenerative spinal condition brought about by a type of endocrine imbalance

caused by tension and frustration. The prognosis was that he only had five

hundred to one chance of survival.

       He decided that since negative emotions had damaged his endocrine

system, maybe positive emotions could help repair it. He left the hospital and

checked in to a hotel. He literally barricaded himself and watched all the

humorous movies that he could get his hands on. He watched reruns of the

Candid Camera, Marx Brothers movies, and everything else he could find that

would make him laugh.

       While watching, he discovered that laughter helped ease the pain caused

by his illness. He discovered that ten minutes of good belly laugh would give him

two hours of pain-free sleep. He proved that laughter really is the best medicine,

for within a few years, the doctors pronounced him completely cured!

       How does laughter reduce the pain you feel? Laughter provides

momentary distraction from the pain and this makes you feel better. The

endorphins entering your blood stream give relief from the pain. It is also

because your muscles relax when you are laughing.

       Laughter also helps you with your breathing. Normal breathing leaves

stale air in your lungs. When you are feeling stressed, your breathing pattern is

shallow. This prevents oxygen from coming into your lungs and causing more

stale air to build up along with water vapor and carbon dioxide. This can lead to

upper respiratory infections and serious breathing problems.
       Nurses discovered this problem in hospitals, while trying to encourage

patients to breathe more deeply. To address this, they let patients watch comedy

videos. The resulting belly laughs clear the lungs of stale air, carbon dioxide, and

water vapor; allowing oxygen-rich and life-giving air in.

       Your sense of humor provides the ability to see changes in your life as

merely challenges rather than traumatic events. People with a well-developed

sense of humor are more successful in coping up with adversities. More often

than not, they feel more in control.

       Humor can help you rise above anger, fear, or loneliness. Laughter makes

you feel that you can handle anything and are in control. Humor makes you feel

hopeful again. The more you laugh and smile, the more you experience that

energy you need to make your life better and happier. You acquire the will to live

stronger.

       The best part is that it is never too late to develop that all-important sense

of humor. It is all in the attitude. For the sake of your health, both physical and

mental, it is essential that you develop your own unique sense of humor. Practice

it every day.

       It is not enough just to spend time with humorous friends and family. It is

not enough to read humorous literature and collect funny stories and jokes. In

order to benefit from the healing effects of humor and laughter, you must be a

practitioner, as well.

       You should develop that sense of humor and practice it every day.

Change your attitude about life and see the funny side. Conscientiously do these
and you will immediately notice the big difference. Events and traumas in life will

not break you; you will be more flexible when a crisis occurs. You will bend and

bounce back faster rather than break.

       Pat yourself on the back when you have good days, where you just laugh

away your troubles, smile through the day, and even help others laugh and smile,

too. The real trick is to still see the funny side, continue to smile and laugh, be

playful and happy even if you have a bad day. Everyone has occasional bad

days. Sometimes you may not feel like smiling when life is busy throwing more

than you can handle.

       How do you handle stressful times? Do you yell and scream? Do you cry?

Do you moan and groan, and talk about how unfair life is? How is that working for

you?

       For starters, walk away from the source of the stress. Leave the room.

Read something humorous, have a friend tell you a joke, or go online and find

the joke of the day. Try Google.com for some sources. You can even have jokes

sent to your email inbox every day. You need to find something funny just to get

you started.

       I know it sounds crazy, but that one laugh could make all the difference in

your day. Using humor to get through the bad days can save your life. Laughing

will lower your blood pressure right away. You will feel calm and see things more

clearly. Whatever the source of stress is, it is not important enough to endanger

your health.
       Sometimes, simple things in your job cause stress. Others feel down if

they have problems involving their spouse and children. Some worry over

financial problems. For the sake of your health, it is important that you focus on

the positive emotions. In this case, you need to feel the effects of laughter.

       In 1980, Dr. Franz Ingelfinger, the editor of the New England Journal of

Medicine, stated that 85% of all human illnesses are curable by the body’s own

healing system.

       You have complex molecules in your body and these are called

neuropeptides. This is how your brain cells and body cells communicate with one

another. All your body cells have receptors that receive these messages all the

time. The neuropeptides change every day depending upon your emotional

health. Therefore, your emotional health can work for you or against you. Studies

repeatedly show that positive emotional health has an enormous bearing on your

physical health, so it is important that you maintain a positive focus as much as

possible.

       This is where laughter and humor come in. Laughter reduces the stress

hormones. These are the ‘fight or flight’ hormones and adrenaline is one of

these. These hormones can be useful. By allowing the build up of hormones

without release, you are creating havoc to your health. Anything that can reduce

these hormones on a regular basis is good for you. If you go on with life building

up these stress hormones, you are severely damaging your immune system.

       Your body also has immunoglobulins, which protect your body against

upper respiratory infections like colds and flu. Research has shown that laughter
can increase these infection fighters. To put it simply, laughter can flip the switch

that turns on these immunoglobulins to make them work more efficiently to heal

your body and prevent the occurrence of infections.

       The study goes on to show that just watching an hour or so of comedy on

television can flip the switch for the system. However, the same study shows that

if you experience stress after watching comedy, you counteract all the good

effects of the fun that you had while watching. People with better-developed

sense of humor bring in more laughter in their lives and have a better-developed

immune system, too. “The simple truth is that happy people generally don’t get

sick,” this is according to Dr. Bernie Siegel, M.D.

       The study also shows that the group of people, who have well-developed

sense of humor and used humor every day to battle stress, did not encounter

problems with their immune systems.

       Candace Pert, American neuroscientist and pharmacologist tells us, “The

chemicals that are running through our body and our brain are the same

chemicals that are involved in emotion. And that says to me that…we’d better

pay more attention to emotions with respect to health.”

       Laughter may be the answer to high blood pressure, arthritis, strokes, and

ulcers. It may even be instrumental in reducing the risk of heart disease.

Research has linked heart disease to emotions such as depression, stress,

anxiety, and anger. One significant research from the University of Maryland

Medical Center shows that having a good sense of humor and being able to
laugh even in the midst of stressful events can help reduce the effects of those

damaging emotions.

       In the study mentioned above, they also discovered that people diagnosed

with heart disease are forty percent less likely to laugh compared with people

without heart disease. Perhaps we should take to heart the advice of Voltaire

who said, “The art of medicine consists of keeping the patient amused while

nature heals the disease.”

       “Humor is just another defense against the universe.” - Mel Brooks
                                   Conclusion

       A sense of humor is probably the most essential ingredient you will ever

need for a successful and happy life. It is necessary for your mental, physical,

and emotional health. It can enrich your relationships, help you raise well-

adjusted offspring, boost your career up to the next level, aid communication,

make you feel happy, keep you healthier, and even save your life.

       To keep you on the right track, keep this thought:


                A sense of humor costs nothing, yet creates much.
       It enriches those who receive without impoverishing those who give.
            It happens in a flash and the memory of it can last forever.
                 No one is so wealthy; they can get along without it.
              No one is so poor that he is not enriched by its benefits.
                          It creates happiness in the home,
          Fosters goodwill in business, and is the counter-sign of friends.
                                It is rest to the weary,
                            Daylight to the discouraged,
                                Sunshine to the sad,
                        And nature’s best antidote for trouble.
                                  (Author Unknown)

								
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