Where Did I Put My Funny Bone?

When you feel like your heart is breaking and your burdens are so heavy that you want to collapse, pull the gray blanket of doom over your head and give it all up, it’s time to find your funny bone.

Not that life should be one big laugh fest, because there are times that require a focused, objective and practical approach to difficult situations or trials that come our way unbidden. And there are times when life deals you a hand that includes unfair, unkind, traumatic, disappointing or devastating “cards” and you have to literally deal! But often, being able to find something to make you smile, giggle or laugh, will bring you just the relief and release that you need to handle the difficult and sort through the parts of your life that you wish weren’t yours.

“Laughter is the best medicine” is a tried and true saying for a good reason. Medically speaking, it’s been proven that those who can find something to make them laugh will feel better emotionally and even physically–Norman Mailer used this technique when he was in a hospital facing death. He watched funny movies, he laughed–a lot–and he eventually got well. No miracle there, just recognizing that there is a connection between smiling or laughing and having a more positive attitude, even when nothing about your situation has changed. This transformative change allows your body and soul to heal. No waiting in a room full of other patients. No waiting for the doctor to “see you now”. No yucky, poking, prodding tests. No prescription from the doctor with pills you can’t swallow, or liquids that make you wonder if you could use the leftover as paint remover. And no standing in a long line at the pharmacy to get it filled, giving you the opportunity to work on developing some varicose veins and falling arches.

Find funny books to read–Bill Bryson, Erma Bombeck, Dave Barry are good authors that write stuff guaranteed to make you laugh. Start a collection of funny cartoons. My personal favorite is Jim Unger. I own several of his books, and, when my two youngest children and I were dealing with some very difficult situations, we would turn to Mr. Unger’s books, and in a few minutes we were laughing uproariously. I still have those books and use them today. We also read lots of Shel Silverstein poems. He is another comic genius. His Uncle Shel’s ABZ Book works every time–just don’t give it to your children to read unless you like to scrape mayonnaise off the mirror and eggs off the ceiling, and you don’t mind looking at your husband for a few weeks who is sporting a kid-with-scissors-induced haircut. Watch movies or TV shows that make you laugh out loud. Almost no one I know, who isn’t taking major medication with mind-numbing side effects, can keep a straight face while Lucy and Ethel work on the conveyor belt at the chocolate factory or Lucy stomps grapes in Italy.

The point is, give yourself a break when your heart is burdened. Laughter is free, it can be shared with friends and family who might also be feeling sad, it is contagious, it brings energy to your mind and soul and re-arranges your perspective, giving you a more positive outlook. “Laugh and the world laughs with you…” cry, and your mascara runs and you’ll look like a raccoon. Now that’s funny!

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