Laughter is a good thing. Scientists tell us that laughter, humor and joy are an important part of life. Laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and increases muscle flexion. It increases the circulation of antibodies in the blood stream and makes us more resistant to infection.
Laughter is good for us physically, but that is just the beginning. Laughter is good for the soul. There is a holiness in laughter. Laughter brings us closer to each other – and there is something holy about people coming together. Laughter provides us a moment of grace. It occurs spontaneously and unexpectedly. It catches us by surprise and we respond with laughter. We never expect to laugh, just as we never expect grace or good fortune when it arrives. And in that grace, we are able to recognize the folly of our own pursuits.
Laughter helps us to transcend ourselves, and I need that help. Too often I take myself far too seriously. There is a danger of taking ourselves, our beliefs and our life too seriously. Fanatics, it seems to me, see nothing as funny. Here’s a suggestion. The next time you’re in the middle of an argument, start laughing – not in a derogatory tone, but in the jovial sense of being in on a good joke. Then see if the anger begins to melt away and if you can find a more creative way to handle things. I’ve done this with my kids and it actually works. And you know what else? Now I know that when I think about doing it and don’t, that I have lost my perspective.
Laughter can be an important tool for keeping our troubles in proportion, for realizing that things aren’t always as bad as we think they are. But even when things are as bad as we think they are, laughter helps create positive emotions and helps us find a frame of mind in which we can more easily cope with the struggles of life. Laughter eases tension and sharpens our ability to concentrate. Laughter is a lot like changing a baby’s diaper. It doesn’t permanently solve any problems, but it makes things a lot more acceptable for a while.
If I am able to laugh with you in my mistakes as well as with you in yours, it suggests we are all flawed and imperfect. Embracing good natured humor, we find the humility to see the foolishness of trying to be perfect and the gift of enjoying the smiles and laughter of love.
Children laugh on average 200 times a day and adults only 26 times a day. How many times a day do you experience the rich joy of laughter? If we want to be happier, healthier, and more productive we seriously need to make time to laugh. Because when we laugh, when we really laugh, deep from the belly… we feel alive! Start looking for more reasons to laugh today.
Barbara Lee, the Sex Minister, is an international author, award winning speaker and accomplished group facilitator and trainer.She has committed her vocational journey to the non-profit sector and ministry where she is an advocate for diverse populations, particularly the marginalized and voiceless in our society. Barbara has an MBA in Leadership Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration. She is an ordained interfaith minister who has led pilgrimages to the Five Holy Peaks of Taoism in China. Barbara, a resident of Grand Haven, was a presenter at TEDxMuskegon 2013. Her books include Sacred Sex: Replacing the Marriage Ethic with a Sexual Ethic and Tension in the Tank: Embracing Interfaith Mysticism Without Leaving the Church. More information is available at thesexminister.com or barbaraleeauthor.com
Fear should never be allowed to hinder one in life. In reality, fear is nothing but, “false evidence appearing real”. That means that if you dissected the fear that a person had, then you would find no reason for it. A friend of mine told me recently of how she used to be afraid of dogs, until she was the age of 33. When my friend was a child, her aunt told her of a story of being bitten by a dog when she too was a little girl. She even showed my friend her wound. My friend became so terrified of dogs from that point on. It was almost as if my friend had “inherited” this fear from her aunt. Never had my friend been bitten or had any reason to be afraid of dogs, but she carried this fear for years. She assumed she would always be that way until one day she dated a guy who owned a Rottweiler. At first she experienced those same dreaded reactions that she always would when she came into contact with a dog. However, this time she soon realized that, although the dog was huge, there was no cause for her being intimidated by him…he was just a 150 lb. puppy, who happened to be extremely loveable. From that point on, her fear of dogs vanished.
It is ridiculous to think that a person could actually be fearful based on something that happened to someone else, right? Not really. This occurs every day. Too often, people are afraid to start a business, write and publish a book, go back to school or of making an investment in their future. Not because they have tried before, but because they knew someone else who tried and failed. Or you have the other end of the spectrum where a person may actually be afraid to succeed. Either case is a tragedy in life and could result in a person being stuck in their own world.
No matter how you look at it, you can never win with fear. Fear can be just as devastating as a plague, if allowed to exist, and has the potential to spread to so many other areas in life. That’s why it is vital to face fear head on. In life, we should never allow fear to score more touchdowns than we do, if we expect to win. And we do. Instead, deal with your fears before they become so detrimental to progression in life.
How do we deal with fear? Although not always a simple answer, some steps include:
Follow these steps with each fear that you may have. Make sure that you have conquered one before moving to another. Progress may not come overnight. Each person is different. Do not hesitate to seek professional help if your fear is deeply rooted and/or a result of trauma.
Know that you are predestined to win in life, not lose to fear. Refuse to give up or give in. Make the choice to tackle your fears today!
Shonda R. Murphy is a Life Coach at Divine Direction Life Coaching and a Financial Planner for Primerica, Inc. As an advocate of financial literacy, she thrives on helping individuals through life transitions as they get back on track, especially in the area of their finances.Read More
Four and a half years ago, I was in a mental hospital. A combination of a tumor forming in my pituitary gland altering my brain chemistry and an abusive relationship situation proved to be my breaking point. I needed help. Thankfully, I asked for it.
The three days and three nights I spent in that hospital were some of the worst of my life. I won’t go into details here, but it wasn’t a place for my healing. When I finally escaped (which is what it felt like) I went to an intensive outpatient group therapy program where, for 10 hours a week, I learned to manage my illness, change my thought processes, and how to understand what was going on in my mind (neurotransmitters and synapses and uptake—oh my!).
In recovery, you learn not to beat yourself up (in my case, literally) for what you “should” have done because, quite frankly, if you were capable of making a better choice at that point in time, you would have done so. My therapist would stop us mid-sentence if we used the s-word, “No should-ing!” she’d say.
This lesson, more than others, stuck with me. And as an entrepreneur, I find myself caught into the should-ing trap more than I’d like to admit. I try to stop using the s-word.
Start counting the times during a day where you put this conditional word into conversations. In the majority of cases it’s not a healthy word, and it’s also relatively powerless as a language tool.
“I should’ve picked a different website theme.”
“I should think about alternative sources of income.”
“I shouldn’t have rushed that report.”
We’re should-ing all over ourselves!
If you knew that the theme you chose wouldn’t satisfy your business or aesthetic needs when you made the decision, you would have chosen differently. Should-ing this is nothing more than a veiled complaint at best, and an excuse for further lacks in productivity at worse.
“A website theme with X functionality would better suit my needs.”
“I will brainstorm additional sources of income.”
“I need to manage time better so I don’t rush reports.”
And then, of course, take action on these statements.
Or, even worse—we should all over others!
“You should’ve ended that relationship a long time ago.”
“You should change your business model.”
“You shouldn’t have hired that consultant.”
There’s little to no benefit that can come from this powerless, conditional word. At the absolute best, you get someone to realize that you think he made a poor decision and therefore he evaluates his actions in hindsight (but only after realizing that he has lost standing in your eyes). At worst, you’re belittling someone’s decision, placing blame, and giving no direction whatsoever.
The words we use speak volumes. When you’re working with clients, you want to communicate confidence. When you’re talking to a friend, you want to communicate empathy. “Should” does not fit into either of these scenarios.
In the words of Yoda “Do or do not. There is no try.”
Be proactive with your language. Give direction, not condition. Use powerful words that give advice, not powerless words that place blame.
Stop should-ing. Start doing.
Jill Schiefelbein, Impromptu Guru, is a communication expert who doesn’t like should being thrown at her. She helps others communicate with confidence and be prepared to speak well any time and every time. Learn more at impromptuguru.com or watch her in action on YouTube.
We will gladly give our time, attention and money to a person who knows what they are talking about. Or at least thinks they know they are talking about. But self-confidence does not come naturally to a lot people. I think our upbringing drastically affects whether we leave the nest with a ton of self-confidence or very little.
Self-confidence is the ability to believe and display the attitude that you know what you are doing. It is a virtue desired by employers, mates and friends. The world is a beautiful balance of people who have varying levels of self-confidence. The people on one end of the scale are fearful that they are not good enough or don’t know enough to open up and share their wisdom. The people on the extreme other end of the scale of self-confidence are brash, arrogant, and generally unpleasant to be around. If you can find a way to be confident but be just below the extreme, the world will love you and eat you up. They will applaud you and live vicariously through you. And as a bonus – they will pay good money to be around you and learn from you.
Here are the mindsets that you should remember when you are not quite sure of what you are getting ready to tackle – or even if you should be doing it:
Bonus: When you see people that appear “self-confident” and wish you were more like them, remember this: They may have the same fears and insecurities that you do. Fifteen minutes before you saw them they may have been sitting in their car doing self-talk to get up the courage to do what you are seeing them do now. Some of the people that appear confident in public are terribly insecure in private. They are just really good actors, and their desire for accomplishment is greater than their fear of failure.
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You’ve talked about that cool project you want to do. More than once.
But you have made zero progress on it. You’ll get to it this weekend.
You’ve looked at average people that have several books on the shelf and thought ‘I can do that’.
But you have yet to come up with a topic or write a single word.
You suck your gut in when you look in the mirror naked because you have not exercised in 10 years.
Your garden has weeds.
Your car is dirty.
You are still living paycheck by paycheck.
You hate your boss. You hate your co workers. You loathe the drive to work. You stare at the clock when you are there.
You have not done anything special for your spouse in a while. Why bother? You are married.
You hate rich people because they get more than you. They have nicer cars. Nicer house and nicer drinks.
You got on Facebook today. More than once.
You stayed up late watching TV last night.
You smoke and drink on a regular basis.
You sit in front of a computer all day long. You’ll do it again tomorrow.
Your life is directly reflected in the movie ‘Office Space’.
It’s YabbaDabbaDoo time. Time to stand up and get the heck away from the desk. Do not do ‘one more thing’. It will be there tomm. and it will be there Monday. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit and go do something for yourself.
Me? I’m headed to the gym. For an hour I can immerse myself in doing what it takes to improve me health. I don’t have to care about marketing. Or LIKEs. Or the weather. Or CNN. Or the cost of gas. When I am in the gym and focused it is ME time.
Go find you some ME time. You don’t have to look hard. Just take a little bit of time away from other people that are not YOU and give it back to YOU. Your ME time should be a high priority for you. If you don’t take care of yourself first, everything else suffers.
Go get you some.Read More
Because attitude is the interpretation of life as it comes at you. Your senses pick up signals about the world around. Your brain has to listen to the things that people do to you, for you, and sometimes against you. Their words and actions are life coming at you. All of those words and actions have to go through your attitude to get to the other part of your brain that controls your mood and your reaction. Two different people can ingest the same set of words and react to them differently because of the internal attitude.
Sometimes you cannot control all of that outside crap that you have to ingest. But the attitude is the ONE filter that you can always control. It is the only thing that matters when it comes to happiness, sadness, joy and pain. Sometimes that attitude can get the crap beat out of it too. After so much sadness and pain the attitude has to just take a break. F that happy crap. I deserve to be a little pissy for awhile. But it should eventually recover and be stronger on the other side.
If you have a pissy attitude, ride it out and get over it. It won’t get you anywhere. If you have a great attitude, then the world is yours for the taking.
Try to have a great attitude today.Read More
Do you ever wish you could go back to that very last day in high school and talk to yourself? I wish that all of the time. What you learned in high school does not even come close to preparing you for the real world. There are so many life lessons I’d share with myself. But more importantly I’d lay down a good set of ground rules and beliefs to guide me for the new few decades. It is great when you learn how the world is structured. But sometimes it takes too long to figure out.
I hope this post accelerates your learning curve or the learning curve of a high schooler. Please help me share it.
The link for the video and the podcast of the show are below. We can also be found on Stitcher and Soundcloud.
Take care and stay hungry my friends – Patrick