ARTICLES / General /Don't Get
Mad, Get Funny/
By Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant, M.P.H
No matter how much we love them, caring for family
members can be a very stressful job. And all that
stress can take its toll on our health and make our role
as family caregivers even more difficult.
One of the best ways to reduce stress and feel better
about your caregiver role is to laugh.
Laughter has been shown to improve both physical and
emotional health1 and to help us feel renewed and
rejuvenated. Here are six simple ways to add more
laughter to your life:
- Make funny friends. People who make
you laugh not only give you the gift of laughter, they
also help teach you how to change your perspective on
life and lighten up yourself.
- Read funny greeting cards, especially if
youíve had a really stressful day. Greeting cards
are great because they deliver a laugh almost
immediately and they represent a diversity of types of
- Have five of your favorite funny movies on
videotape so you can watch them when youíre feeling
overwhelmed by stress. Consider funny movies to be
part of your emergency first aid humor kit. If you
canít think of your favorites offhand, check out the
American Film Instituteís list of 500 funniest movies of
all time on the web at www.AFI.com.
- Wear a funny button in public. Wearing
a funny button communicates to everyone who sees you
that you have a sense of humor and are open to hearing
about their humorous experiences.
- Look for the funny. Instead of
focusing on lifeís miseries, try to find the laughter in
everything that goes on around you. The majority
of things we laugh at come from spontaneous situations
that arenít meant to be funny.2 Think of it
as looking at the world through a pair of Groucho
- Fake it. Studies show that you donít
have to feel like laughing to get the benefits!
Itís just like exercise; if you work out youíll get
fitter whether you feel like working out or not.
Only if you fake laughter, chances are youíll soon feel
like laughing for real.