H: Humor to Destress

H: HUMOR TO DESTRESS

Laughter has long been touted as a beneficial part of the healing process. When Norman Cousins was told he had little chance of survival, he developed his own recovery program. His positive attitude was not new to him, however. He had always been an optimist, known for his kindness to others, and his robust love of life itself. “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep,” he reported. “When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, [Ellen and I] would switch on the motion picture projector again and not infrequently, it would lead to another pain-free interval.” This resulted in his 1979 book, Anatomy of an Illness.

Laughter and humor is also advised as a way to destress. (Although, I wouldn’t recommend laughing in an irate customer’s face as the proper way to use this technique.)

In India, and around the world, laughter clubs are springing up as a way to destress. Check out this short video clip of British actor, John Cleese, visiting India’s famous Laughter Club. At the time of viewing there were 600 clubs in India, about 800 worldwide, that met daily for a dose of fun.

Want to start your own laughter club? Here’s a site, Laughter Online University, with lots of information to get you started.

Where can you find some humor to help lighten your mood today?

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Humor at Work

humor at work'Sometimes humor is the only technique that gets us through difficult periods at work, especially if you’re working in a retail or other service based job.

The story below shows great use of humor in a work situation. Although it’s most probably a joke or an urban legend and not a true recounting of an actual incident, it still illustrates a humorous reply in a difficult situation. (Snopes.com has a similar story, United Airlines but coming out of Denver, that they collected via email in 1998.)

An award should go to the United Airlines gate agent in New York for being smart and funny, while making her point, when confronted with a passenger who probably deserved to fly as cargo.

For all of you out there who have had to deal with an irate customer, this one is for you.

A crowded United Airlines flight was cancelled.

A single agent was rebooking a long line of inconvenienced travelers.

Suddenly, an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk. He slapped his ticket on the counter and said, “I HAVE to be on this flight and it has to be FIRST CLASS.”

The agent replied, “I’m sorry, sir. I’ll be happy to try to help you, but I’ve got to help these folks first; and then I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out.”

The passenger was unimpressed.

He asked loudly, so that the passengers behind him could hear, “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM?”

Without hesitating, the agent smiled and grabbed her public address microphone.

 “May I have your attention, please?” she began, her voice heard clearly throughout the terminal.

“We have a passenger here at Gate 14 WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him with his identity, please come to Gate 14.”

With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man glared at the United Airlines agent, gritted his teeth, and said, “F*** you!”

Without flinching, she smiled and said, “I’m sorry sir, you’ll have to get in line for that, too.”

Hang in there! When the demands at your job have you ready to strangle someone, see if it’s possible to use humor to defuse the situation. Or, at the very least, can you find any humor in it after the fact so that you can laugh about it instead of seethe?

August 2019
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