“With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, If I did not laugh I should die.”

“With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, If I did not laugh I should die.”

—Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

Abraham Lincoln, February 1865. Alexander Gardner/Library of Congress

Honest Abe, The Rail-Splitter, and The Great Emancipator were three nicknames given to Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States.

He is best known for his efforts to preserve the Union during the Civil War, and brought about the emancipation of enslaved people.

Unknown to many, Lincoln fought clinical depression all of his life, and if he were alive today, his condition would most likely be treated as a “character issue” and a finite political liability. Many believe that his own internal battle with many personal and political strains gave him the extraordinary character and will to accomplish all that he did.

EXERCISE:

Where and how does laughter and a sense of humor help you navigate your own fearful strains and rough seas of life?

How, like Lincoln, can you bring more of this essential resource into your own life, to help you achieve your own fullest potential?

“Good humor is a tonic for mind and body…”

“Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.”

—Grenville Kleiser, 20th Century Professor at Yale University

Image from Unsplash by Gemma Chua-Tran

To what degree do you feel the need for healing? What stresses and strains have been put on you, your family, and your world this past year?

What tonics and remedies have you tried to reduce the pain and lighten your burdens?

While we continue to try various elixirs and await the day we’ve all received COVID vaccines, how can you add a booster shot of good humor and daily chuckles to your various communities?

EXERCISE:

This link will take you to a variety of past Quotable Coach posts on this approach to better your world.

Please let me know how this strategy works for you!

“A good laugh recharges your battery.”

“A good laugh recharges your battery.”

—Jennifer E. Garza, author of the book by the same title

Image from Unsplash by Omar Lopez

Take a close look at the state of the world. Begin by zooming out for a big-picture view, then zoom in to your own communities, family, and lastly, to yourself. Explore the numbers factors that have and are depleting your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energies.

Take another look at how and in what ways you renew and recharge yourself to take on each new day.

How have you included adequate rest, proper nutrition, daily exercise, hobbies, time with family and friends, and mindfulness efforts into your days?

Where and to what extent have you intentionally brought greater humor and laughter to recharge and reboot your world?

Recently, I have been asking my digital assistant to tell me a joke. Although the jokes are often corny, I do find a few more chuckles that boost my mood and raise the corners of my mouth.

EXERCISE:

Please reply to this post with a few laughter-inducing activities that recharge your batteries.

Laughter is the sun

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”

—Victor Hugo, 19th Century French poet/novelist

Image of a small boy running through sunlighted sprinkler

Image from Unsplash by Brenda Godinez

This time of year, many people – particularly those in their retirement years – head south to sunnier skies and warmer temperatures. These “snow birds” are somewhat reborn and experience greater youthful vitality when they head off to winter camp.

Many of us, including myself, who are still working and live in a climate that gets a full dose of winter, can feel a bit down at times and long for an early spring.

EXERCISE:

How might you bring truckloads of laughter – instead of road salt – to your days to drive away the winter blues and brighten your worlds?

A light heart lives long

“A light heart lives long.”

—Irish Gaelic Proverb

Image of two old women laughing

Image from Flickr by Patrick

Did you know that workplace stress has been proven to increase the risk of heart attacks and shorten your life span? I am sure you could list five or ten other factors that make the impact even worse!

Listed below are are some lighthearted or heart-related activities, proven effective to add both years to your life and life to your years.

  • Laughter: just 15 minutes of laughing at a funny video can improve blood flow to your heart by 50%, reduce blood clot formation, cholesterol deposition, and inflammation.
  • Optimism, meditation, and other mindfulness efforts help us view the world through a more hopeful and lighthearted lens.
  • A short nap or frequent breaks in your day to recharge have been shown to reduce coronary mortality by 37%.
  • Social engagements which include family, faith, and other forms of community involvement help us lighten our burdens, share more joy, and fill our hearts.

EXERCISE:

Explore at least one of the strategies above to brighten and lengthen your days and let me know what happens.

Consider replying to this post with some of your own lighthearted strategies to live a longer, more fulfilling life.

A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men

“A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men.”

⏤Roald Dahl, 20th Century British Novelist

Image of Albert Einstein laughing

image from Deism

When you think of the word “genius,” who is the first person to come to mind? If you are like many, you likely selected Albert Einstein.

A theory he postulated 100 years ago regarding gravitational waves was recently proven correct by the very best of today’s top scientists.

Unknown to many is the fact that Einstein often exhibited a lighthearted, playful, and humorous disposition. He must have believed that all work and no play would make Albert a dull person indeed!

Based on his rock star image at the time, he was often invited to participate in many gatherings and social events, to the delight of those he accompanied.

EXERCISE:

Where and with whom would a bit more fun, playfulness, and good old-fashioned nonsense be just the ticket for you to have a more fully satisfying life?

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Image of kids in Halloween Costumes

Image from www.theodysseyonline.com

October 31 marks the ancient Celtic Holiday of Halloween, which later became All Soul’s Day in the Roman Catholic tradition.

For us it marks the final turn from summer to deep autumn, when pumpkins are ripe, trees are colorful, and some folks are full of mischief.

EXERCISE:

Consider taking on a new goal that scares you just a bit.

Belly laughs not Bellyaches

“A person who belly laughs doesn’t bellyache.”

-Susan Thorman, English Teacher

Image from Flickr by ampshot

Image from Flickr by ampshot

Most of us have heard the adage about laughter being “the best medicine.” With a bit of research, I discovered that a good belly laugh provides physical, mental, and even social benefits, including:

enhanced immunity reduce stress decreased pain
reduced heart disease muscle relaxation reduced fear & anxiety
strengthens relationships improved mood easier bounce-back from setbacks
added joy and zest for life enhances cooperation & teamwork reduces and diffuses conflicts
promotes bonding & sense of community

EXERCISE:

What strategies and tactics can you add to your world to dramatically increase the quality and quantity of belly laughs? If you make this a habit, I’ll bet there will be very little room for belly aching!

“Laughter is an instant vacation.”

“Laughter is an instant vacation.”

– Milton Berle

Milton Berle

In the book Anatomy of an Illness, Norman Cousins goes to considerable length to overcome his debilitating condition, with the help of funny movies, other forms of humor, and high dose Vitamin C.

There is considerable evidence that the lighthearted experience of laughter has positive effects on our immune system. It protects our nervous system by reducing stress, and it may actually enhance our life span.

Milton Burle, often referred to as “Mr. Television” or “Uncle Miltie” was born in 1908 and lived to the age of 93; he had a career of bringing “s—t-eating grins” and belly laughs to generations.

In our rapidly-moving and often stress-filled lives, we often find ourselves longing for an escape to our favorite vacation spot.  Unfortunately, our ability to make these journeys may only occur a few times a year. Let’s all take Burle’s suggestion, and take far more mini-vacations to brighten our days.

Exercise:

Google Milton Burle and check out some of his video clips on YouTube.

Explore the works of other comedians – such as Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and Bob Hope – or check out some jokes / funny story books and websites and share a few chuckles on a daily basis.