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Looking for the humor

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Banana.

Banana who?

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Banana.

Banana who?

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Orange.

Orange who?

Orange you glad I didn’t say banana again?

Humor. We all need it for a slew of reasons. We have talked before about laughter being the best medicine. The truth of the matter is that, sometimes, life gets heavy and we become so consumed with dealing with the difficulties that we forget to look on the light side, to count blessings instead of troubles, look for the silver lining in those dark clouds. We forget that the bad days will pass. We don’t remember what Grandma said, “There isn’t a road that doesn’t have a bend in it.”

We forget that every event in our lives makes us stronger, wiser, and builds character. Sometimes we might look skyward and ask, “God? Just how strong do you think I am? How strong do I have to be?”

There are no easy answers to many of life’s problems that challenge our fortitude.

For a number of years health professionals — not all of them — have adopted humor as one of the tools to healing and well-being. Marc Gelkopf writes in “The Use of Humor in Serious Mental Illness: A Review,” “The place of humor in mythologies and the attention it has received by philosophers attests to its importance for the delicate balance between human well-being, divinity and society … Records show that physicians have been advocating the potentially curative aspects of humor for hundreds of years.”

Humor, he writes, has the potential to reduce pain and stress, uplift emotions, make the immune system stronger, and improve relationships between people.

In “Stress Relief from Laughter? It’s no joke,” the Mayo Clinic explains the short- and long-term effects of humor for our well-being. Those belly laughs cause us to take in more oxygen which stimulates the heart, lungs and muscles and increases endorphins in the brain. Humor encourages relaxation and stimulates circulation. Don’t you feel so much better when you’ve enjoyed a good, healthy laugh? Laughter has a positive impact on your immune system. When we think negative thoughts, we feel more stress and our immune systems weaken.

Gelkopf says, “…humor has a broad range of effects on perceptions, attitudes, judgments, and emotions, which may … benefit the physical and psychological state.”

Humor does not mean sarcasm. Sarcasm has bite to it, an attack that hurts someone else. Humor should create warm feelings that bring people together.

Feel free to share the joke at the top of this article. Corny? Yes. There’s a reason why kids like knock, knock jokes.

——

Family Recovery Center helps families to find ways to navigate through these challenging times. For more information about the agency’s treatment and education programs, contact FRC at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468, or email, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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