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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 humor.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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 glasses.
  6. 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. 

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