Have a good laugh…

July 13, 2020

“People who have a sense of humor get through life more comfortably than those who don’t.”  (Carl Reiner)

That was the quote that Jack used in a recent post to his Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Life without a sense of humor must be a mentally desolate place to live. There are certainly many things in life that are serious matters, but a life spent focused only upon only the dangers or sadness or anxiety in life is one that is usually shorter and much less satisfying than a life filled with humor and laughter. My wife and I often say in the midst of some calamity or setback that we’ll look back on this someday and laugh. Just saying that to each other is usually enough to lighten the moment.

The quick smile or laughter involved with turning something into a humorous thought is enough to break the grip of the tension that being too serious brings with it. You can actually feel your body letting go of the tension. Some people use other techniques, such as yoga to deal with that tension. It is the ability to refocus yourself away from the thoughts that are causing that tension that really makes them work.

There is an old bit of wisdom that states that when we are confronted with a threat or defensive response may be characterized as “fight or flight”. Do we turn to face and fight the threat or do we take flight to avoid it? Perhaps those with a good sense of humor find a way to get a laugh out of the situation. For them the situation may be defused by seeing the absurdity in it or in their reaction to it. How many times have you been frightened by a surprise happening, only to laugh at it, or your reaction to it, when you finally see that it is not the scary thing that you initially thought it was – like a baby with a Jack-in-the-box?

The death of a loved one or friend would seem to be the last place that one could find relief from grief through humor; yet, it is in the telling of stories, many of them recounting humorous events during  the deceased one’s life, that we find comfort. Those stories of good times often involved things that were laughed at and enjoyed together.

People who can laugh at themselves are especially blessed because they can also forgive themselves. Being down on yourself all the time is a sure recipe for depression. We all make mistakes or do stupid things every now and then. Being able to step back and say to yourself, “boy, that was really stupid” and then having a good laugh at your own expense is a great way to let yourself off the hook and go on with life. Those who cannot do so are destined for a life of self-inflicted misery.

So, lighten up people.  Find your sense of humor. Life is too short to spend it in a gloomy mood. Go to a mirror and make a funny face at yourself. Then say aloud, “Look at that dork!” Have a good laugh! That dork will be a happier person.


What makes you laugh?

February 5, 2020

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog got me to thinking about what makes me laugh. Jack posted this bit from Steven Wright – “Right now I’m having amnesia and deja vu at the same time… I think I’ve forgotten this before.”

I remember really liking Wright’s humor and his ability to deliver it deadpan. Here are examples of some of his best routines – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9ciHpT4WuM

I grew up on a different kind of humor, the monologues and routines of Milton Berle, Sid Caesar and Red Skelton come to mind. Of course there was also George Burns, who used deadpan delivery and Groucho Marks, who off-hand and sarcastic remarks I found funny. One of the earlier wordsmithing comics that I remember was George Carlen, who could take a single word or theme and turn it into a whole routine. George suffered through the period in TV where the sensors restricted what he could say or at least what we could see of what he said. Here’s some of his best routines.

 I especially like comedians who play with words or whose humor forces one to think about what was just said and consider why we thought that was funny.

Some people prefer physical comedy, with prat falls or other visual things that tickle our funny bone. All of the early, silent film humor was based upon visual humor, since we couldn’t hear any funny lines. The Three Stooges, Abbot and Costello,and Martin and Lewis were more modern comedic teams that still relied quite a bit on the visual aspect in their humor. On the Carol Burnet Show, the humor of Tim Conway really came through when he was portraying the little old man shuffling as fast as he could from place to place. He always broke up Harvey Korman with that routine. Me, too.

Here are some of Tim’s best routines from that show – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=me-BOWwtm2Q

I think we all need a little humor in our lives. Being too serious all of the time is a sure formula for health problems. Laughter allows us to break the tension of everyday life and, just for those few moments, get back to the innocence that we had as children. So find something that makes you laugh and take some time each day to go there and let go – laugh.

What makes you laugh?


Start your day with a laugh?

March 4, 2019

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this piece of advice – “I love people who make me laugh.  Laughing cures a multitude of ills.  It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”  (Audrey Hepburn)

The important message there is the ability to laugh. For some it is the ability to laugh at themselves; to take life less seriously than others do. When we let life get so serious that we can no longer laugh is when we get into mental health problems. People who experience depression have temporarily lost that ability to see any humor in life; theydepression3 can no longer look at what is happening and laugh. Sometimes things in life can seem so bad that they become absurd. It’s at those moments when the ability to look at the situation and just have to laugh at the absurdity of it all that can get you through it.

I have almost always had the ability to see the humor in life, even in it’s most absurd moments. My wife and I often say in bad situations, “Someday we’ll look back on this and laugh.” Of course, just saying that usually makes us laugh in the present, too.

Some comedians based their whole routines around making you laugh at the absurdity in their lives. Rodney Dangerfield was one such comedian and his stick based upon how absurd his life was never failed to make everyone laugh. Here’s a routine from the old tonight show – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MecU2keW54I

I believe that it is important that we retain the ability to see the humorous side of life dumb blob guyand not get so serious about it that we lose the ability to laugh at it and at ourselves. My first reaction to having done something stupid is usually to be mad at myself, but that lasts only a moment until I see the humor in the dumb thing that I just did. Then I step back, have a good laugh and move on with life. It helps immensely sometimes to be able to see the humor in the absurdity of life and in our own reactions to things that are happening.

One of the things that I have advised in this forum in the past is to start each day as you finish your morning routine in the bathroom by looking into the mirror and making a funny face 2funny face. Stick out your tongue. Scrunch up your face. Do whatever it is you need to do to make yourself laugh at what you see. Break the grip of seriousness on you the first thing in the morning and see if that doesn’t make your whole day better. Laugh at yourself first and then find the humor in whatever life throws you way during the day. Life cannot defeat you if you can still laugh at it.

Can you still laugh? Make a funny face today.

Have a humerus week ahead.


Have a good laugh today…

December 10, 2018

The advice from the Jack’s Winning Words blog today it this quote – “Laughter is the best medicine, and the cool thing is, you can’t o.d. on it, and the refills are free.”  (Rob Paulsen)

I’m a believer in that advice. I have what has occasionally been called a wicked sense of humor. I see humor, sometimes dark humor in many things that happen during any given day. My tendency for witty retort or often blurting out something that I found to be funny used to get me into trouble at school. These days, as often as not, my wife will question why I am chuckling to myself and I will share with her the humorous (at least smiling dogto me) thought that just crossed my mind.

One must include the ability to laugh at yourself, in order for the healing effects of laughter to be complete. Being able to stop and say to yourself, “well, that was stupid” and then have a quick laugh is much better than getting down on yourself. We all tend to take ourselves and whatever it is that we are focused upon way to seriously. Lately me wife and I have taken to exchanging the little phrase, “At least nobody died” as a way to lighten moments of disappointment or self-recrimination for a mistake. Forcing yourself to put things in that context serves as an emotional relief valve to let the moment pass, whatever it was.

animated-light-bulb-gif-22There are things in life that make us smile, like seeing a cartoon of Snoopy dancing or even the original smiley-face emoji. We also need things that make us laugh. I remember many routines on the old Carol Burnet show that were so funny that even the cast was laughing while they tried to perform the routine. Tim Conway doing his little old man shuffle inevitably broke up Harvey Corman in those routines. My wife loves to watch reruns of the show Everybody Loves Raymond, because they make her laugh.

I’m sure that there are scientific explanations about why laughter is good for us; things talking about endorphins being released into our body. To me, the only thing that is important is that laughter breaks the tension of the day and allows us a momentary return to the innocence of childhood where life was much more fun and many things around us were fun and funny. To often, like the children who grew up in Peter Pan andsmiling-sun lost the ability to fly with him, we lose the ability to laugh at ourselves and the things around us. Recapture that ability. Go watch an old episode of a comedy show. Let go and laugh. Don’t worry, you can’t o.d. on it.

Here’s a little clip from the old Johnnie Carson show when Rodney Dangerfield visited. See if it make you laugh. Have a good laugh to start your week. It will set a great tone for the rest of the week.


Make the world a happier place…

July 12, 2018

Today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog is so good that I have to repost the whole thing…

“Happiness starts with a smile.”  (Sent by Carol Stanonik)  When you’re on a bus or subway laughter isn’t what you expect.  A Belgian ad agency, working for Coca-Cola, hired an actor to start laughing on a crowded train, with today’s quote as the tagline.  The result showed how happiness can be contagious.  Even a simple smile at someone will often result with one in return.  This world, at times, can be unkind.  Let’s help to make it a happier place.    😉  Jack    Coca-Cola: Happiness starts with a smile – YouTube

You’ve got to play the video.

I recommend that you save that link to the video and play it back every morning before smiling-sunyou start out on your day. It may help put a smile on your face and that will start the process of making the world a happier place.

Be a contagious carrier of happiness today…put a smile on your face.


Keep winter at bay; put on a happy face…

November 29, 2017

The Jack’s Winning Words blog had a great quote recently that can apply to everyone – “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”  (Victor Hugo)

People who laugh often and seem to be happy are sometime said to have a “sunny disposition”. The opposite is to be thought of as a dour person, someone who always seems to have a frown on their face. Interestingly enough, many of us might be considered by others to be dour people just because of our “at rest” face. We don’t even realize it, but most of us, when we are relaxed and in a normal, “at rest” state allow our faces to droop a bit and we may end up looking like we are unhappy.

Related imageI’ve used a prime example of the impact of our “at rest” faces in posts a few times – ex-Speaker of the House John Boehner. Most of the time, when you saw Boehner on TV in the background at State of the Union Speeches or in photos taken at the capitol he looked unhappy, or in discomfort – he looked dour. If you Google his name there are tons of pictures that pop up; but, only a few show a smiling John Boehner. He looks like a much more pleasant fellow in those smiling photos.

 

 

So how do you look, when your face is at rest. You can get some idea by just standing in front of a mirror and allowing yourself to relax, with no emotions showing. Another way is to look at informal pictures of yourself taken at some event that you attended. Do you like what you see? Is your “at rest” face open friendly and inviting or does it appear to be a dour person who may not wish to be bothered?

What has all of this got to do with today’s theme? Well, while laughter is the sun that drive winter from the human face, we can’t be laughing all of the time. Otherwise they’d cart us away to the funny farm. What we can do is keep in mind some thoughts thatsmiling-sun cause us to smile, so that our “at rest” faces look like that are about to laugh and are more inviting and pleasant.

A nice by-product of having a smile on your face is that people will ask what it is that is making you look so happy. They will want to talk to you and share in your apparent happiness; as opposed to a person with a dour look on their face, who is someone to be avoided. If they ask, perhaps the best answer to give to get the conversation going is to reply, “I was just thinking how nice it is to see you.” You can see how much better that encounter is than one with a dour looking face who replies that he/she looks unhappy because their gall bladder is acting up again.

So start your day today by thinking of something that will put a smile on your face. You don’t have to go around laughing out loud; but, maybe your smile will be the sun in someone else’s life today and drive their winter away. Maybe keep this little song in your mind – Put on  happy face.

 


The elixir of laughter…

March 23, 2017

I decided to use two quotes that both came from the Jack’s Winning Words blog, although they were posted some time apart.

“I love people who can make me laugh when I don’t even want to smile.”  (Unknown)

“A good laugh is sunshine in the house.”  (William Makepeace Thackery)

I believe that laughter really is one of life’s miracle drugs – an elixir that work wonders insmiling-sun almost any circumstances. Victor Hugo said – “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”

These days we need laughter more than ever, and mot the nervous chuckles that may come from hearing what the latest stupid batch of Tweets that came, based upon “alternative facts”.

Real laughter involves the temporary setting aside of our fears or our grief, the momentary loss of our anger or resentment and the letting go of our reserve and inhibitions. It is a surrender to happiness and a release of joy (perhaps that is the sunshine in the house that Thackery spoke about).

laughingI’m sure that there are scientific explanations about the endorphins that are released in the body by laughter; but those fail to take into account the release of the icy grip of hate, anger, remorse, fear or sadness from our hearts during those moments of laughter.

My wife and I often say, during times of travail, that we’ll look back on the event someday and laugh. Sometimes that even helps while the event is still taking place or fresh in our minds. It’s usually not hard to find something to laugh at when we do look back, either how we got ourselves into that situation or how we reacted to it. There is almost always humor to be found in human stupidity or humans’ reaction to the absurdity that occurs in everyday life. It is, after all, the stuff of which TV’s reality shows are made.

Milton Berle once said, “Laughter is an instant vacation.” So allow yourself the release of laughter and take a vacation from the worries of your life.

Have a wonderful and laughter-filled day.