I LOVE TO LAUGH.  I simply cannot imagine my life without humor.  I grew up with a particularly witty and fun loving brother and so it is integral to my joy.  In turn, my husband (who also has a great sense of humor) and I have instilled that in our three sons, so that now, as a family, we thrive on laughter and humor at every gathering, conversation and event.  We enjoy humor; spoken, written and performed.  I love seeing live comedy in all its forms and my husband and I go to improv., skits, stand up, movie comedies, etc. as our favorite form of entertainment.

A clarification about humor that is important to mention; as a family, we are all comfortable with self-deprecating humor, but we do not condone or tolerate humor that belittles others.  EVER.  It is never OK to make a joke at someone else’s expense.  That is bullying and disrespectful and from my way of thinking, not even in the category of humor.

I also find that humor is useful not only on a personal level but also professionally.  I think of humor as one of my best work skills.  I regularly use humor to break the ice at all types of gatherings, large and small, with people I know and those I do not.  I even think that when mentoring an employee, humor can make a session more productive.  It is a great way to put someone at ease and get started on the right foot.  In some of the most challenging employee situations I have used humor to get everyone through it.  Of course there are times when humor simply is not appropriate but honing the skill of when to use it is a valuable asset in any workplace.

Laughter and pain

Studies have shown laughter can decrease the release of stress hormones while increasing the presence of infection-fighting antibodies.  In addition, laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain! How great is that?  And if you have ever laughed really hard, to the point you can barely breath, you know you are also working your abs and lungs when you laugh.

Even in the most difficult times, it is not only possible, but recommended that we use humor to get us through those challenges.  RA is not funny nor am I suggesting it is.  But there is room for humor in the way we deal with it, talk about it to friends and family and as we share our stories.  It is a wonderful way to relieve pressure and put life in perspective. At a recent RA Support Group meeting, we spent equal parts of the evening laughing as we did in deep discussion.  I believe that humor nurtures the fellowship of our group and keeps people coming back!  It is just as crucial to the informational and emotional support as any other aspect of the support group dynamic.  I want folks to leave feeling better, more optimistic and positive.  By ensuring that humor is part of our meetings, we promote that likelihood.

I encourage you to seek humor in your life, in every corner and facet.  Laughter truly is the best medicine.



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