Lighten up! Our friends or co-workers say that to us when we are taking life or work too seriously. People who take life too seriously sets themselves up for some negative consequences. We can’t be serious all the time. A celebrated Greek Proverb says, “You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.” Most of us don’t use bows and arrows in our daily life, but we get the point. We can’t sustain joy in life if we are constantly high strung. We need the relief that a sense of humor adds to our life.
Our emotions affect our body
An ever increasing amount of medical research is being done that examines the connection between our emotions and our body. Negative emotions can have negative effects on our body.
Laughter boosts the immune system and reduces dangerous stress hormones in our body. Laughter can lower blood pressure. People with a good sense of humor experience less overall stress and better health.
Humor is healthy for our body. It is healthy for our mind. Learning to laugh eases the stress of situations. Learning to laugh at ourselves is a key part of our emotional health.
See the humor in daily life
I’m learning to see the humor all around me in my daily life. When my kids were growing up, one of my weekly tasks was to do the family grocery shopping. One day I went on my grocery store run. I get what we need at the store then back the car into the driveway to unload the grub. I start carrying the flimsy plastic bags inside. One bag contains a gallon of milk causing the outside of the bag to become wet. I step through our front door onto the tile floor. As I do, the bag with the milk slips out of my hand and crashes onto the hard floor. Milk gushes from the bag. Quickly, I grab the plastic jug out of the bag, leaving the plastic bag and a puddle of milk on the floor in front of the door. I see the plastic jug is creased on the bottom corner where milk is leaking out. I put my finger over the hole and spring to the kitchen. The remaining milk can still be saved! I have an idea! I yell for my daughter, “Come quick! Help me.”
She comes into the kitchen. My hands are full with the leaking container so I ask her to open the refrigerator because in there is an almost empty container of milk. I’ll just pour the new milk into the old container. She takes out the old milk container. I tell her, “Get out the funnel.” She does. She empties the old milk from the bottle and sets it on the counter. I tell her to put the funnel on top. I say, “Okay, you hold the funnel still, while I pour.”
As I’m getting ready to pour a fleeting thought flits through my mind. “I should probably put the old container in the sink.” I ignore the thought. (You can see where this is going, can’t you?)
I say, “Are you ready?”
“Okay. Here goes!”
I open the new bottle of milk. What happens next is best described by the word “volcanic.” I pour the milk, but it comes out so fast it fills the funnel in a matter of seconds. When it does, the funnel slips out of my daughter’s hand, spilling milk all over the both of us and onto the floor. Milk is everywhere. It’s all over us, dripping off the countertop and covers the floor, running between cabinets and under the dishwasher. I tell her, “Stay right there.” I dash to the laundry room to get towels to clean up the spill.
As this point, one of our two fluffy cats hears the commotion in the kitchen and wanders over to see what all the noise is about. In her cat brain, she sees spilled milk all over the floor and thinks, “I have just found the land flowing with milk and honey.” She starts walking through the spilled milk until she gets to the biggest milk puddle. She starts licking it up.
Meanwhile back at the front door first puddle, the other cat has found her Nirvana. She has her head inside the plastic bag so that only her body is showing and is gorging herself on milk.
I grab the towels and spend the next hour getting two spills cleaned up and removing the rest of the groceries from the car. When cleanup was all over, a little piece of conventional wisdom comes back to me, “Don’t cry over spilled milk.” In that situation, all I can do is laugh. What else can you do?
Life goes better when we learn to laugh at spilled milk.
Learning to laugh at life is healthy. Finding the humor in every nook and cranny in life will pay off for us. Humor is good for us!
Healthy humor doesn’t cut another person down and is not at another person’s expense. True humor doesn’t put other people down or belittle them. Nor is it deflating or cutting.
How long has it been since you had a real belly laugh? When was your last moment of sidesplitting, eye watering laughter?
We can begin today. We can start small. Laughter begins with a smile.
A sense of humor will get us out of a lot of jams. Don’t leave home without it!
Remember the words of tennis legend John McEnroe (said in a slightly different context), “You cannot be serious!”