Humor, Health, and High Performance. Did you know they’re connected? This weekend, at The 1st Annual On Purpose Woman Conference in Columbia, MD, I attended a break-out session by Karen Susman entitled “How’s Your Laugh Life?” This 50+ Petite Dynamo presented (humorously of course) a compelling rationale for infusing laughter into our daily activities. According to Karen’s research:
- After hearty laughter, your blood pressure is lowered for 45 minutes.
- Daily laughter restores neurotransmitters that help you cope with stress.
- Laughter increases oxygen to your brain resulting in clearer thinking.
- Laughter aids creativity by giving you a different perspective.
- Laughter builds your immune system by reducing the flow of adrenalin and cortisol.
- Laughter, or even having “humor vision,” reduces tension and conflict.
- Laughter increases the likelihood that people will want to work with you.
I particularly love this reason, offered by an anonymous sage: “If you don’t laugh, your soul wrinkles.” Yikes!
As Karen was describing how important it is to laugh our way through life, I thought back to my years as an Assistant Public Defender in Lynchburg, VA. Almost every day our gang of ~ten attorneys (mostly 30-something males) would gather around the lunch table after a grueling morning of court appearances and jail visits. *And*we’d*laugh*!!!!* Of course it helped that each of us had a strong propensity to see the lighter side of the darker side of human existence; and of course it helped that a few of the attorneys could make a living as stand-up comedians if they chose to do so; and of course it helped that our clients (and opposing counsel) gave us some excellent material to work with . . . I’ll just say that those 60 minutes of daily laughter got me through some pretty grim times as a defense attorney. [Spot on, Karen Susman!]
So, ladies, let’s add more fun to our days and see what happens! Whether it’s marshmallow fights with our colleagues (yes, we did this in the workshop) or practicing “laughter yoga,” we need to make sure we tickle our fancy numerous times throughout the day.
Karen suggests creating a “joy list” of whatever makes us smile and reviewing and adding to it regularly. She also recommends sharing our favorite bloopers with our friends, such as going through the car wash with the back window open or (my personal favorite) walking to court, briefcase in hand–with my dress hiked up and tucked into my panty hose! For more creative ideas from Karen, please visit www.karensusman.com.
I’d love to hear — what do you do to keep your soul from wrinkling???