Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Laugh your butt off!

No foodie tips today.  Today we focus on fun and laughter as healing mechanisms.  

My friend Hilary and I went to Disneyland for her birthday today.  I had never been there before, and it truly was the happiest place on Earth.  Neither one of us could focus on our worries or insecurities while screaming our heads off in Space Mountain.  Or while we laughed till we cried when Hilary made me sit in the front of the Splash Mountain ride and I got completely SOAKED with freezing cold water.  Or when we sat in tea cups to have our pictures taken.

And if you can't go to Disneyland, here are some Fun Commandments written by Dr. Kuhn, who saw incredible results from bringing laughter into hospitals.   You can easily implement his tips into any lifestyle:

Dr. Kuhn's Fun Commandments

  1. Always Go the Extra Smile
    Of all my Fun Commandments, this one provides you with the most energy. It is the one strategy 
    most effective for increasing the fun in your life. Smiling is a way to open your heart and at the same time touch the hearts of others. We have measured decreased stress, improved immunity, increased tolerance for pain and frustration, and higher levels of creativity - even from a "fake" smile!
  2. Tell the Truth
    Of all my Fun Commandments, this one helps you keep an inventory of yourself. Our humor natures are open windows to the truth; therefore, if you want your sense of humor to be strong and available, 
    you must make the effort to be true to yourself. This Commandment promotes trust in yourself and keeps you on a steady, forward pace since you will be much more cognizant of what is working in your life and what isn't.
  3. Laugh With Yourself First
    Of all my Fun Commandments, this one helps you take yourself less seriously. When you make a mistake, laughing with yourself keeps you from beating up on yourself. It is a boost to your self-esteem because it is a vote of confidence in yourself. This Commandment sends a clear message to 
    you that you are okay. You know that your foibles do not form links in an unbreakable chain, because you are learning from them and becoming more effective.
  4. Welcome Your Mistakes
    Of all my Fun Commandments, this one allows you to stop being so hard on yourself. Jerry Lewis once told me that he is always nervous before he goes on stage, but "the trick is to harness the fear and make it your ally." In other words, 
    don't be afraid of your mistakes - welcome them! In fact, your mistakes can be so helpful to you that I suggest making them on purpose. You're going to make mistakes anyway. Making them on purpose helps you turn your fear into fun.
  5. Listen Very Carefully
    Of all my Fun Commandments, this one keeps you from being too self-centered. Successful comedians will tell you that the capacity to listen is their number one creative tool. Yet listening is an often overlooked and under taught skill and most of us are very poor at it, preferring to form our next phrases rather than hear what is being said to us. To really listen we must turn the volume down on our own internal chatter and this allows us to
    communicate from our hearts rather than our heads.
  6. Let Go Frequently
    Of all my Fun Commandments, this one provides you with serenity. If you've ever learned to juggle you quickly discovered that we all have a tendency to hold on to objects for too long. The same phenomenon occurs in life and, since we are all jugglers - juggling our family, our work, our community responsibilities, and our own care, letting go is a vital skill that will
    prevent stress and give peace of mind.
  7. Challenge Your Assumptions
    Of all my Fun Commandments, this one keeps you open minded and learning. It is also an effective way to bring humor into your life. We make assumptions because it saves us time and energy in our busy lives, but assumptions can keep us from growing and changing if we are not capable or willing to see new perspectives. Get in the habit of 
    seeing things around you in a different way and your sense of humor will become supercharged.
  8. Stay Focused, Yet Flexible
    Of all my Fun Commandments, this one eases you through changes and transitions. This strategy is about keeping your priorities clear, but keeping your options open. You can't help but 
    become an inspired opportunist when you develop a trait for seeing the victories inherent in what you used to call defeats. As you'll come to find out, this trait is shared by all successful people.
  9. Act and Interact with People
    Of all my Fun Commandments, this one gives you a constant and reliable source of amusement. Reaching out and touching someone is often a learned skill, but it pays big dividends. Realize that taking chances means you will make mistakes, but they will happen less often if you are willing to learn from them. You'll also find that 
    a failed action is much more valuable to your health and success than a failure to act.
  10. Practice Wanting What You Have, Rather Than Getting What You Want
    Of all my Fun Commandments, this one helps you attract, and hold on to, abundance. One of the great paradoxes of life is that, as long as you try to fill your inner void with things outside yourself, your void only gets bigger. Learning to 
    love what we have and who we are - right now - opens us up to receive so much more, because we want things for the right reason. We're no longer trying to "fix" ourselves.
  11. Choose to Motivate Yourself With Fun Rather Than Fear
    Of all my Fun Commandments, this one teaches you how to set goals and achieve them. You really only have the choices of fun or fear when it comes to motivation and they both work well. The problem, however, with choosing fear is that it is impossible to sustain the motivation without harming ourselves through burn-out and stress. Choosing fun to motivate ourselves is the simple difference of 
    striving toward positive goals, rather than escaping negative ones.
  12. Celebrate Everything
    Of all my Fun Commandments, this one provides you with abundant joy every day. If you make a practice of celebrating events you normally treated as mundane, you will 
    be filled with an energy and spirit that you haven't felt since childhood. Left to choose between feeling like a jaded pessimist or a naive optimist (of course, I'm using two extremes as examples), why wouldn't you choose the latter? Either way, your life will still unfold around you - but you will see it as a gift.
Taking a break from our serious adult brains today was absolutely rejuvenating.  When was the last time (sorry but without alcohol!  That's not really a true release...), that you did something spontaneous, fun, and laughed till your abs ached?  If you can't remember or it's been even over a month, I BEG you, go do it now now now!

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