Nurture Yourself Tuesday, Feb 8 2022 

Midwest winters can be not only cold and snowy but gloomy, especially when we don’t have sunshine. The frigid temperatures and icy/snowy road conditions restrict our ability to get out. We end up tired and depressed.

When feeling down, take note, and take care of yourself so, you can better care for the other people in your life. We have lots of little ways to do this that don’t cost much in time or money. Take a walk in nature. Even gloomy days in a forest or park offer natural beauties and wildlife to brighten our spirits. Meet a friend for coffee or lunch. An hour or two offers us a distraction and warms our hearts as well as our bodies. Or watch a humorous program. Laughter reduces stress hormones and depression, reduces pain, and increases creativity.

You can find more ways to care for yourself in my book, Inspired Caregiving. I wrote it with you in mind!

*They all laughed when I said I wanted to be a professional comedian. Well, no one is laughing now.

Laugh Like a Baby Wednesday, Jul 30 2014 

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Who can resist a laughing baby? Even when toddlers are naughty, their exuberance sparks the same in us. Life is good, and they don’t hold back on expressing that joy.

Babies find humor in the simple things. We can play peek-a-boo non-stop. For some reason our appearance and disappearance is hilarious.

What fascinates me is how early in life they know what is funny and how to be funny. Our little Samantha laughed at my husband when she was only three weeks old. She knew even then that Papa was being silly.

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And how clever they are at such young ages. My daughter, Erin, and I were talking on the phone when 17 month-old Tyler vanished. They were in their home with all doors closed and locked, but she could not find him anywhere. She called his name repeatedly. He did not respond.

We became increasingly more concerned. We feared he was stuck or hurt somewhere.

Finally, she found Tyler hiding behind the couch. He burst into a huge belly laugh when he saw her frantic face. He was very proud of how well he hid from his mommy and how he scared her to pieces. He took advantage of her being distracted on the phone. Maybe next time she will think about that before taking her attention away from him.

And then last Saturday, while playing on the floor with my other 17 month-old grandson, Daniel, he took a large mouthful of water from his sippy cup and proceeded to spit it out into my hair. I screamed and jumped. He burst into laughter. This little guy knew exactly how to tease his nana and how much fun that would be.

Babies are innately happy and playful. Somehow, even little ones know early on how to get a reaction out of grown-ups.  They enjoy surprising us. Most of all they love to laugh.

Our world is pretty stressed out right now. There is tension all around. Sure, we need to pay attention and take the many problems seriously.

But we also need to stop from time-to-time and put our troubles aside. Smiling, laughing, and playing are good for us. A happy break here and there helps to get us through the tough stuff.

(Photos: Daniel, 17 months-old; Samantha, 3 weeks-old and Marshall)

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

What’s So Funny? Monday, Sep 9 2013 

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According to Word Press statistics, with all the reposting on Facebook, my “Top 10 Ways You Know You are a Magician’s Wife” received over 1,000 views. I wrote that list for my own entertainment, and a few magicians I thought might appreciate it, but I never expected such a response.

My posts cover a variety of topics relevant to everyday life. They offer a point of interest – a helpful hint, something to ponder – but I am finding light and humorous topics draw the most readers.

That’s not such a good thing for me because I am not funny. I’m a terrible joke-teller. I laugh at the thought of the joke but forget how it goes, my delivery stinks, and I tell the punch line way too early.

Maybe I’m not humorous because I don’t find the humor in a lot of things. I’m not fond of 3 Stooges type of slapstick, not a fan of late-night comedians who ridicule failing celebrities, and don’t like vulgar or profane jokes. Mostly, I don’t enjoy seeing anyone embarrassed or hurt, and humor is usually at someone’s expense.

I have friends who are very funny and pretty clean. They pick up on all the silly things we do. Their jokes may be suggestive but not out-right dirty.

I wish I could do that. I’d like to be funny.

It looks so easy, but I’m learning that although comedians have a naturally playful personality, they work at the art of humor. They study other comedians, search for humorous topics or ones they can make so, and they practice. If their timing is impeccable it is because they spend countless hours rehearsing.

Like writing, comedians know their audience. When jokes are written for a particular age group, ethnicity, club, or profession it is personal for those in that group. A good comedian understands what their audience would identify with without taking the joke too far.

The power to evoke laughter is usually due to a surprise twist in a story. It offers an image that is silly or outright ridiculous. Like magic, it plays a trick on the mind. It also can look at what is usual in a given population but not in the general public, like my top 10 list. Each one of the entries on that list is common in the magic community but pretty odd in the general population. My husband really has stabbed swords all around me while I was locked in a box, and crazy as it sounds, I liked it.

It’s also the stuff of everyday life said with a twist. If I told you that the secretary was bored because she filed, filed, filed – her nails all day – that would make you smile. But there is nothing funny in simply saying that the secretary filed her nails all day.

Humor also happens when we’re not supposed to laugh. When I was kid my sister and I couldn’t look at each other in church without giggling. We wouldn’t even do anything. My parents, siblings, and I would file into the pew, and as soon as Patti and I hit the kneelers, we’d burst out laughing. But I do think God was OK with that because most of our prayers were that we wouldn’t laugh, yet we still did.

The desire to laugh must be innate. It’s amazing at such a young age how babies can differentiate between what’s normal behavior and what is not. My grandsons have smiled and cooed at my husband’s silliness since they were only a couple of months old. And at six months-old, when Tyler surprised us in a superman costume, he knew he was funny.

What’s more, studies show that laughter is good medicine. We heal faster and remain healthier longer with a little humor in our life.

So, let’s share a good, clean joke. If you tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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