Karyn Buxman

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Listen to Your Favorite Comedian (Day 9)

Who makes you laugh? Ellen DeGeneres? Steve Martin? CK Lewis? Rita Rudner? Tim Allen? Roseanne Barr? Jeff Foxworthy? Whoopi Goldberg? David Letterman? Paula Poundstone? George Carlin? Wanda Sykes? Eddie Izzard? Joan Rivers? (Review your notes from Challenge Day 1: But I’m Not Funny)

Today’s challenge: Tap into your favorite comedian.

Today it’s easy to tune in and listen to your favorite comedian. YouTube carries tons of routines from comedians, past and present. iTunes allows you to listen to and download your favorites and take them with you on your smart phone, computer, iPad, iPod, tablet—you name it. And for those of you still listening to CDs—you can find a great number of comedian’s works on Amazon. (For those of you with cassette and 8-track tapes, your task may be a bit more challenging, but persevere!) Tip: if you follow your favorite comedians on social media, you may be able to access bits that aren’t available for sale.

Schedule at least 15 minutes today to listen to your favorite comedian. Just in that short amount of time, you can experience physiological and psychological benefits!

That’s it! Congratulations for committing to another day. I hope you’ll join me tomorrow for the next humor challenge. I’m Karyn Buxman reminding you to create a humor habit and reap the benefits. Humor is power!

Neurohumorist Karyn Buxman’s mission in life is to enhance global business, improve global health, and achieve global peace through strategic humor. See all Humor Challenge blog posts and videos at www.KarynBuxman.com/30-day-humor-challenge-2015

Posted in: 30-Day Humor Challenge, Catching Up With Karyn, Videos

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5 Fun Things You Can Do To Celebrate National Humor Month

nose glassesApril is National Humor Month – great news if you’re interested in finding health & wealth through laughter! Here are five fun ways to celebrate National Humor Month:

1. Movie Night: Host a Comedy Film Festival in your home, devoted to the movies that make you laugh the most. Here’s a list of the American Film Institute’s 100 Funniest Films for some classic laugh.

2. Phone a (Funny!) Friend: Remember the college roommate who could always crack you up? What about the co-worker you loved to laugh with before they moved onto a new job? Keeping your funny friendships alive has serious long term mental and emotional health benefits. A touch base call or email is a simple way to put a smile on both of your faces!

3. Learn Laughter Yoga: Laughter is more than fun – it’s exercise! Laughter yoga combines enjoying humor with basic moves to boost your circulation and energy while lowering your blood pressure and stress levels. Here’s a simple exercise to get you started.

4. Scavenger Hunt! Grab your favorite friends and organize a scavenger hunt. Create a list of funny items and see who can gather the most of them within an agreed-up time limit. Reward the winner with a prize of incredible value (may we recommend the stylish glasses shown above?)

5. Take The 24 Hour Challenge: Resolve to find something to laugh about every single day. Level up by sharing what made you laugh with someone else that day. It’s the easiest way to build your Humor Habit. After a month, you’ll be a practiced Humor Appreciator!

 

 

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Nurses Week 2014: Moving Forward with Joy

You got a minute? Let’s talk nursing. And I want to talk about nursing as it exists right now – not the almost-magical image of the profession you may have had before you started nursing school; certainly not the world of nursing that the public only knows from Scrubs – don’t you wish it was that fun? – but the actual day-to-day conditions we’re functioning in as we try to help people get and stay healthy.

It’s not easy out there. The hours are long. There are fewer and fewer of us being asked to do more and more with less and less. Sometimes our patients don’t appreciate us. Sometimes our colleagues don’t appreciate us. And when we come home with our scrubs covered in stains of dubious origin and shop-talk stories that would make a dockworker lose his lunch, sometimes our own families don’t appreciate us.

What keeps us hanging in there?

Some people say that answering that question is best accomplished with some serious therapy, but I don’t think that’s the case. I believe that nurses stay in nursing because they know we’re the front line of healthcare. We’re the people who are in the best position, with the best skills and most amazing commitment, to make a real difference in the lives of our patients. And sure, sometimes they don’t appreciate it – but sometimes they really, really do.

Whether it’s saving a life or getting an excruciating splinter out of an uncomfortable location, healthcare couldn’t happen without you!

Knowing this is great – but it’s not enough. We need a little help along the way to stay motivated. It’s hard to maintain our emotional resiliency. I’ve even heard of  nurses abandoning the profession for trades that offer less stress and more glamor: Things like teaching teenagers or becoming an air traffic controller!

But there is an answer designed to keep good nurses in the field: Laughter. The strategic use of humor means more than cracking a few jokes. It’s a systematic way to approach every single aspect of your career. Learning how to identify the lighter side and use humor to bolster up your emotional reserves will make you happier. It will make you healthier. Most important of all, it will make you a better nurse.

Nurses’ Week 2014: The Northeast Tour

This year, I’m planning a special Nurses’ Week tour through the Northeast to teach nurses smart, simple humor strategies they can use to be more effective, happier, healthier nurses. If you’d like to have me appear at your facility, pass this information along to your nurse manager or whoever’s in charge of planning your celebrations. I can’t wait to see – and laugh with!  – you!

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9 Days Until Christmas: Do You Really Have To Decorate the Doghouse?


The holiday police will not arrest you for not having all your decorations up. Remember less can be more. If you spend less time putting decorations up you’ll have more time to sit back and enjoy.

I know, I know. This goes counter to all of the conventional wisdom you’ve heard. We’re supposed to Decorate All The Things. There are even TV shows now like The Great Christmas Light Fight, where families compete to see who can create the brightest decorations – and the biggest light bill!

But I’m here to suggest to you that maybe what we need this holiday season is not more fighting – even good natured fights! – but less. Let someone else have the victory. You can opt out, conserving your energy and focusing on those things that you find more meaningful.

Besides, think about it this way: the fewer decorations you put up, the fewer you have to take down after the holidays. Pick your very, very favorites and display them. You’ll find you get all of the joy -and a lot less holiday stress!

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One Size Does NOT Fit All: 6 Low Tech Tips to Express Your Appreciation

After my piece on Grati-tweets and Grati-texts, I received an outpouring of emails, texts, and tweets from folks expressing their appreciation of me—wow! It felt great! One loyal reader, Deborah, told me how she’d sent a grati-text to a mentor who lived in another state. The mentor texted back how timely her message was. She’d had a difficult and emotional day and thanked her profusely for her thoughtfulness.

On the flip side, I received this response from a dear friend: “Dearest Karyn, I just wanted to let you know that I believe in the power of gratitude, certainly in the power of laughter and optimism, and HATED your suggestions!”

She went on to explain that she was not just low-tech, but NO-tech. She didn’t open e-cards, refused to text and had no social media accounts—not one!

I LOVED her note! (It’s so awesome when your audience makes your segue for you!) And because one size does NOT fit all, here are 6 tips for showing your appreciation via good-old-fashioned low-tech techniques.

1. Put it in writing: Send a letter, a real letter (or card, or even a postcard, post-it notes!) These days, a note sent via snail mail really stands out. Past president of Million Dollar Round Table, Scotty Brennan, told me (and 5,000 others in Bangkok) that every Sunday evening he takes time to write hand-written notes to some of his clients. So break out the stationary, buy a real, physical card—the kind you have to put a stamp on. Postcards can be quick and fun. And post-it notes come plain or illustrated in all shapes, colors, sizes—and you can stick one of those puppies on someone’s mirror, microwave, computer screen, steering wheel—use your imagination and show your appreciation AND creativity. I’ve even left notes of appreciation on the shower door in washable crayon! (Granted, I’m the one that cleans it up, later….)

2. Pick up the phone for a live conversation (if you get voicemail, call back later). Today so many folks would rather text than talk. But you can’t really express emotion in a text or email (no, emoticons do not count!) and it’s easier to be misinterpreted in writing than by talking. And I’m guessing there is someone in your life who would love to hear the sound of your voice.

3. Face to face: Meet for coffee, meet for lunch, meet for wine, a sunset, a walk. And while you are face to face, let them know that you think they are covered in awesome-sauce!

4. Send a small/personal/fun gift: key words: personal, fun. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or costly. My branding pal, Liz Goodgold, sent me a tin candy box last week that fit my business cards perfectly. It was such a treat and meant so much that she was thinking of me.

5. Publically recognize them. Many years ago, humorist Hope Mihalap shared with me her concept of living eulogies. She explained that we wait until our loved ones pass away to express to everyone how wonderful we thought they were. “Tell everyone how wonderful they are now, while they can still appreciate it!” Whether it’s at work, in your association, your church, or other social group, spread the word! Tell others you think this special person rocks!

6. Do an act of kindness for them: cook them dinner, offer to watch their kids, return their grocery cart for them (AFTER they’ve removed their groceries!). I awoke one snowy morning in Missouri and saw the driveway completely cleared. As I poked my head out the door my neighbor waved and said, “I figured as long as I was clearing my driveway, I might as well clear yours, too!” My hero!

Speaker, author, and neurohumorist Karyn Buxman, is committed to achieving global health through laughter and healing the humor impaired. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook for more tips on how humor and positive emotions can help you achieve success, significance and happiness.

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Using Humor to Manage Your Diabetes: Building Laughter into Your Routine

Every day, Amanda goes for a walk near her San Diego home. The thirty-two year old has Type 2 diabetes, and regular exercise helps her keep healthy. “I can’t say I go anywhere in particular,” she said. “I just head for the beach and start walking.” Along the way, she listens to audiobooks. “Only funny stuff,” Amanda’s quick to point out. “Right now, I’m listening to David Sedaris’ latest book. Walking makes me feel good, laughing makes me feel good, so I figured why not combine the two?”

Amanda may be on to something. Humor has a vital role to play in helping people with diabetes live happier, healthier lives. Laughing regularly improves the mood and has been found to contribute toward a more positive mindset. There are also very real, very physical benefits to laughter. Enjoying humor lowers the blood pressure, improves circulation, and can even help minimizing post-meal blood sugar spikes.

Laughing regularly is an easy, fun, free way to improve your health. But sometimes those laughs don’t just happen. What can you do to find the funny?
How to Laugh More: Build Enjoying Humor into Your Daily Routine

A key to making sure you laugh every day is to make sure your schedule includes exposure to funny things.  We all have busy schedules, so multi-tasking can be a very useful skill here. Amanda listens to funny audiobooks while she walks; you could do the same thing during your own workout, morning commute, or whenever you’re stuck waiting.

It’s okay to be deliberate in the search for humor.Set up a designated email for funny joke-of-the-day emails, and make sure to check it once a day. Do you love Twitter? Create a custom list of people (Tweeple?) who make you laugh, and read it during your lunch break.

What’s your favorite way to add humor to your day?


 

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Grati-tweets & Grati-texts – And Other Ways to Express Gratitude (A High-Tech Approach!)

My alarm clock didn’t go off. Someone had already used up all the hot water before I could take my shower. We’d run out of coffee (gasp!). And to top it all off… my “fat pants” were feeling a bit snug—aaaaaauuuuggghhhhhh! This was shaping up to be a miserable morning. I heard my phone chime and my heart skipped a beat. Had I gotten my times mixed—was I late for work? I snatched my phone off the table and saw the text:

“I just wanted you remind you how amazing you are and how grateful I am that you’re in my life.”

My eyes got teary and my heart swelled. My sister, a busy physician three time zones away, had taken 30 seconds out of her busy schedule and had changed the course of my entire day.

Studies have shown that one way of increasing your happiness setpoint is to practice being grateful. Studies vary slightly in their findings, but in a nutshell, writing down three things daily will raise your level of happiness more than writing down a list of items your grateful for weekly. Sharing your gratitude or appreciation with another person boosts your happiness level even more.

And get this! In one study, people who focused on gratitude rather than hassles felt more optimistic about their future, felt better about their lives and even did an average of 1.5 more hours of exercise a week. (So I can be happier and shed the fat pants!)

In this fast-paced, high-tech world, it may seem unrealistic to try to squeeze in one more task on your to-do list. Instead of switching from high-tech to high-touch, you can be high-tech AND high-touch! Take 30 seconds to practice “Grati-text.” Think of someone who has made a real difference in your life, and shoot them a text telling them so.

Being happier has lots of benefits that go beyond just feeling better. You can be healthier, more creative, more productive, and people may find you more attractive! (Really!) So here are five more ways to practice High-Tech/High-Touch methods of gratitude so that you’ll be happier and healthier right away.

Here are 7 quick High-Tech AND Hi-Touch ways to express your gratitude:

1. Express your gratitude in what I call a Grati-tweet (a tweet that expresses gratitude): 140 characters or less of your appreciation via Twitter.

2. Whip out your phone and send a Grati-text (A text message that expresses gratitude): Tell them how much you appreciate them and why.

3. Use the video function on your phone to record your thanks in less than 30 seconds. Then email, text it or post it on Facebook.

4. Record a video of gratitude and upload it to YouTube or Vimeo.

5. Send an e-card to someone that says “I appreciate you.”

6. Leave a short voicemail for that special someone letting them know how special they are.

7. Create a playlist of songs that express your feelings of appreciation and upload on the recipient’s iPod, phone, or other device.

Speaker, author, and neurohumorist Karyn Buxman, is committed to achieving global health through laughter and healing the humor impaired. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook for more tips on how humor and positive emotions can help you achieve success, significance and happiness.

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Using Humor To Be A Better Nurse: Welcome to the Hall of Fame

“The minute this LOL walked into our ER, I knew she was going to be trouble. She arrived with 6 relatives, each of whom was being continually, loudly reminded of their responsibilities. One had to hold the purse, another was to call everyone – she listed them by name – and let them know the LOL was in the ICU and about to die any moment, another one had to run out to the car to make sure the lights were out, the fourth was supposed to make the doctor see her at the triage desk because she didn’t have the strength to go any further, the fifth had to take the purse because the first one wasn’t holding it right, and the sixth was responsible for everything else.”

“I don’t think Queen Elizabeth has this many attendants. I knew right then we had a candidate for our Hall of Fame.”

Reframing: Seeing the World Through the Lens of Humor

Some patients are more difficult than others. That’s no secret – just ask any nurse! Humor provides a way to keep calm, cool and collected while managing difficult patients – and keeps the experience of caring for those difficult patients negatively impact the care you give your other patients.

“As you can imagine, getting LOL to agree to being separated from her entourage was challenging, and she became less and less compliant as things went on. It would have been easy to get upset, but instead I just focused on the fact that she was going in the Hall of Fame. In our hospital, we all keep a little mental list of our most memorable patients, the ones who were truly unique because they were difficult, demanding, so over the top – maybe you know the type? When someone’s talking about the guy who insists the doctor stole his teeth – which are always, always, always in his right shirt pocket; they haven’t been in his mouth as far as we can tell since 1973!- we say, “Oh, him! He’s in my Hall of Fame!”

This Hall of Fame practice is what is known as a reframing technique. Taking a situation that’s stressful, and choosing to view it from a more humorous perspective, is a valuable way to help you feel more in control. You’re creating emotional distance between yourself and the difficult patient. You’ll experience less of the physical symptoms of elevated stress.

The best thing about the Hall of Fame technique is it takes place entirely inside your head. Your patients don’t need to know they belong in the Hall of Fame – it’s probably not a really good idea to tell them they’re a candidate! – for you to benefit from the stress-break and emotional distance humor provides. Comparing Hall of Fame stories with colleagues builds bonds, something we definitely need in the profession right now, while modeling appropriate stress-management techniques for more junior nurses.

“They never did admit my LOL to the ICU – no matter how bad your hangnail really is, they’re not going to give you a bed for that! She left, with her half-dozen attendants checking her vitals every step and a half. It took her a little while, but she walked right out of the ER and into the Hall of Fame!”

Posted in: Catching Up With Karyn, Journal of Nursing Jocularity

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Baby, It’s Hot Outside: Using Humor To Help Beat The Heat

“How hot is it? Well, I just saw two trees fighting over a dog!”

Temperatures throughout the Western part of the United States are exceptionally high right now. These near-record temperatures are enough to ground small aircraft! As a nurse, I can’t stress strongly enough how important it is to take special care of yourself and your loved ones – especially the elderly and small children – during this heat wave. Make sure that everyone takes in plenty of liquids, avoids exerting themselves, and stays as cool as possible. If you don’t have air conditioning or your A/C isn’t working properly, take advantage of community cooling stations.

It’s also important to keep your spirits up during this heat wave. Being exposed to excessive temperatures puts stress on your body’s systems. Luckily, laughter is an all-natural, drug-free way to reduce the impact of that stress. When we laugh, we lower our blood pressure, improve blood sugar control, and improve circulation.

“It’s so hot I just saw a roasted turkey fly by!”

Ways to Beat the Heat with Humor

Go to the air conditioned theater and watch a comedy!

Break out the water guns and start an epic splash battle!

Practice making funny voices by speaking directly into the fan! (Make sure not to get too close!)

Have a “It’s so hot…” joke contest with your friends!

Get a giant strap on shark fin and go swimming at the community pool!

“Its so hot they asked the Statue of Liberty to please lower her arm!”

When you laugh and play, you won’t just feel better, you’ll actually be better. Humor has amazing healing powers. So go ahead and laugh – and try to stay cool out there!

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Caring for the Caregivers: Nurses Week & Hospital Week in Review

From my point of view, Nurses Week and Hospital Week 2013 absolutely rocked! I had the good fortune to speak to the nursing staff at dozens of healthcare systems – always a thrill for me, because it’s a privilege to recognize, entertain and inspire the awesome nurses from coast to coast.

But how did Nurses Week look to other nurses around the country?

When I ask nurse managers and healthcare systems administrators what their biggest challenge is, the word ‘engagement’ comes up a lot: “We need nurses who are engaged, actively focused on the best in patient care – especially now that reimbursement rates are directly tied to patient satisfaction.” Nurses Week and Hospital Week celebrations are the time to recognize and celebrate the vital role nurses play (and hopefully inspire them to want to keep up their incredible performance!).

Are we doing a good job of letting nurses know how important they are?

Yes and no. When asked, many nurses are quick to share ‘The Good’, like the one nurse who wrote to me, “Awesome place of employment with an incredible Admin. Asst. who gave each of us nurses a different lei nearly every day = so we all got LEI’d!” Others share ‘The Bad’, like the nurse who lamented, “Yeah. We got a pen. That’s it. A Pen.” And there are those that share ‘The Ugly’: “What did we receive? Not a thing. Not even a thank you.”

Here’s what I’ve discovered over my years of participating in annual Nurses Week celebrations:

Peer To Peer Recognition is So Important

One of the most heartening things I heard this year was the numbers of nurses who went out of their way to wish each other “Happy Nurses Week!” Harvard Business School researchers have found that in any organization, when there is a healthy culture of peer-to-peer recognition in place, turnover can be reduced by more than a third.

Think back to Nurses Week in your facility. Did you hear your nurses wishing each other “Happy Nurses Week?” Not every team is equally enthusiastic about celebrating their strengths. You may need to provide education and leadership to help integrate this behavior into the culture of your organization. Lateral recognition is so important. We should encourage it throughout the entire year.

Don’t Forget The Night Shift!

“There was a luncheon… but too early for us 3-11 shifters to come in and 11-7 staff were home in bed,” one nurse reported.  Unfortunately, night shift nurses too often get short-changed when it comes to Nurses Week & Hospital Week celebrations.  A noteworthy exception was the thoughtfulness of University of Connecticut’s Chief Nursing Officer, Ellen Leone, who came into her facility in the middle of the night to serve ice cream sundaes to the entire team.

But for most night nurses, the story is sadly different. “They invited us to daytime activities and leftovers for the night shift,” was an all-too common response to my inquiries about recognition celebrations. Considering how hard it is to find – and keep! – great night shift nurses, couldn’t we do more than leave them the leftovers?

Be Sincere

It’s important to remember that some of the nurses we’re trying to connect with can be skeptical people. Part of this is an occupational hazard: There are only so many times you can hear patients tell you that they’re stringently following doctor’s orders when all the evidence points to the contrary before you begin to doubt their reports! Nurses know that some folks talk the talk but don’t walk the talk.

Our culture also plays a role as well. The Pew Research Group tells us that people no longer trust the government; The New York Times reports that we don’t trust big corporations or financial institutions; and Gallup tells us that nearly two thirds of Americans don’t trust the media.

It can be tough for healthcare systems that want their nurses to trust them to create that sense of confidence! Creating trust requires that one’s words and one’s actions be in alignment. Walk the talk! If you want your nurses to trust that you actually care about them and their well-being, your organization’s actions must reflect this sentiment in every sphere, from creating and implementing nurse-friendly policies and procedures to ceremonial occasions, like Nurses Week and Hospital Week. Sincerity matters, and is appreciated and remarked upon by nurses, like the comment from one nurse below:

“I know it came from their hearts, the words spoken were truly meant for each of us,” said Wanda Roberts, on Facebook, “I can’t thank Christine Donohue RN of Capital Caring Hospice enough for making May 6th the best day of the year so far.”

The takeaway here is clear: As you begin making plans for Nurses Week or Hospital Week 2014, start from a place of genuine appreciation for the role nurses play in your organization’s success. The front line of patient care is an important place to be. You want the very best people standing there… and once they’re in place, you want to keep them happy. It needn’t take much (although it does take more than a pen!) but you do need to be sincere.

Nurse, speaker, and neurohumorist, Karyn Buxman, is funny AND informative AND inspiring AND… well, see for yourself. Go to www.KarynBuxman.com and discover how she can create more success, significance and happiness at your healthcare system.

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