Karyn Buxman

Catching Up With Karyn

Posts Tagged 'laughter'

If Seal Is Broken… (Might as Well Laugh)

Everywhere I look, there is some reminder of the election. (There’s a job I won’t be signing up for!) But then it struck me-sometimes, being a nurse is like being President.

No.  Air Force One won’t be stopping by this morning to bring you into work. The odds are that you don’t have a detachment of Secret Service personnel guarding you around the clock. There isn’t a brass band that plays “Hail to the Chief” every time you walk in the room (but wouldn’t that be cool?).

However, there are some similarities. For one, as a nurse, you are almost guaranteed to share this experience with the President: something will go wrong when you least expect it.

The event was Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit and President Obama began his address. And then-THUD! The Presidential Seal on the front of the lectern fell off-and hit the floor!

“Oh, goodness,” he said. “That’s all right.” There, with the eyes of the world upon him, President Obama smiled and said, “All of you know who I am.”

The audience – both those people who were in the room and those who caught the incident any of the hundreds of times it aired on the news – laughed. The moment passed, and the President moved on.

I have to say, on some small scale, I know how he feels.  Nurses always have an audience watching their every move-and sometimes things go wrong.

Have you ever been hurrying through your day-moving as fast as you can because apparently hourly rounds means seeing the patient once an hour, not taking an hour every time you make rounds! (Who knew?)-only to step in what is known as a Spill-of-Unspecified-Origin and go slip-sliding across the room?

I know I have. (More than once, actually.)

President Obama demonstrated the perfect technique to use in these situations: acknowledge what happened, address it with humor, and move on.

Which is why the best thing to do in these situations, after you’ve made sure nothing was injured in the incident besides your dignity, is to stand up and announce, “It’s tough, training for the World Acrobatics Competition. I have to work in all the practice I can get!”

Your patient will surely appreciate your commitment to the tumbling arts, but that’s not the only benefit of using humor in potentially embarrassing situations.

First, the use of humor can disperse the tension and discomfort that arise when something goes wrong. Patients know they don’t have to be worried about what happened: by joking, you’re assuring them that the situation is not serious. Considering the fact that patients are carrying at least some tension and stress with them just by the very nature of being in the hospital, that’s a relief.

Second, like the President, a nurse is a leader. And while the fate of our country does not lie on our shoulders, the fate of our patients and their families is something we do carry with us, often long after our shift is over. Our patients look to us for many things: information about what’s going to happen next, insight about what their experience is going to be like, and guidance about the best way to deal with what’s coming.

Sometimes the nature of our work necessitates emotional distance between us and our patients. But when we laugh, and we make it safe and appropriate for our patients to laugh too, both parties are reminded of their larger roles: members of the human race, in a world seemingly determined to throw petty obstacles in our way. What can we do but laugh?

Well, laugh-and make sure our seals are firmly affixed to the lectern at all times!

©2016 Karyn Buxman.  All rights reserved.  Reprint rights  granted so long as all links are made live.

Karyn Buxman, neurohumorist, is the author of the book Lead with Levity: Strategic Humor for Leaders and creator of an 18 (or 30) day online program to help leaders authentically, consistently and strategically use humor to enhance communication, build resilience and boost engagement. Click here to listen to 3 sample lessons.

She can also be reached via:

Karyn@KarynBuxman.com
Twitter: @KarynBuxman
Facebook: FB.com/KarynBuxmanSpeaks
LinkedIn: Linkedin.com/in/KarynBuxman
Candy-grams: 1465 C St. #3318 SD, CA 92101
Smoke signals: avoid when prohibited by fire season!

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Replacing Your Stress Habit: Jest for Stress

“Shoot! Dang!” cried my husband. (Okay, so those weren’t his exact words. Hey, I want to keep this article rated PG-13!)

His knuckles whitened around the steering wheel, his jaw tensed, his muscles stiffened. “Look at this frakkin’ traffic.” (Note: He actually did use the word “frakkin’.”)

The sight of a traffic jam sent him immediately into a stress response. But I reminded him that we had plenty of time to get to our destination, we had plenty of gas, we had food and drink in the car (and neither of us was in need of a bathroom break!). So rather than fume about traffic I pulled out my phone, and played several episodes of a show that we both find hysterical (Cabin Pressure, a BBC radio sitcom, starring Benedict Cumberbatch). And we relaxed and laughed our way to our destination.

Stress can be habit-forming. We see a stimulus (a traffic jam, a virus alert on our computer, that neighbor who rambles on incessantly) and we respond with irritability, muscle tension, anxiety, loss of focus, and the urge to strangle some jerk who desperately deserves it.

Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl once said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness.” So often, when challenges pop up, we fly into an automatic response. But we do have a choice. There are lots of interventions you can initiate in that space between stimulus and response. One of the easiest and most effective choices is humor. Rather than experience a stress habit, create a humor habit.

The trick is having humor easily available so that accessing it is a no-brainer. Here are three quick techniques for the next time you feel stress coming on. Pick one!

  1. Use your smartphone. Depending on the time you have, you can access a funny podcast (10-60 minutes), a funny video (30 seconds to 10 minutes), or funny memes through apps like Tumbler, iFunny, and Pinterest (mere seconds).
  1. Use another person. Ask a colleague, a friend, or a customer to share something funny with you: A funny story, a joke, an embarrassing moment. It doesn’t have to be wet-your-pants funny. You’re just going for a quick reframe of your mindset, from stress to jest.
  1. Use your mind. Have some go-to images that bring a smile to your face just thinking about them:

The look of delight on your toddler’s face when she first met your new puppy. Your husband on the dance floor trying—hilariously—to disco dance like John Travolta. Kramer bumbling his way into Seinfeld’s apartment. Tapping into a quick humorous memory can change your body chemistry—and your day—almost instantly.

And here’s one last tip: You’ll get the maximum benefit from humor when you use it consistently. You can actually rewire your brain—so practice some kind of humor every day!

Stress is always going to be part of our lives, but it doesn’t have to dominate our daily lives. Exchange your stress habit for a humor habit.

Karyn Buxman, neurohumorist, is the author of the book Lead with Levity: Strategic Humor for Leaders and creator of an 18 (or 30) day online program to help leaders authentically, consistently and strategically use humor to enhance communication, build resilience and boost engagement. Click here to listen to 3 sample lessons.

She can also be reached via:

Karyn@KarynBuxman.com
Twitter: @KarynBuxman
Facebook: FB.com/KarynBuxmanSpeaks
LinkedIn: Linkedin.com/in/KarynBuxman
Candy-grams: 1465 C St. #3318 SD, CA 92101
Smoke signals: avoid when prohibited by fire season!

Posted in: Humor

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Humor May Be Hazardous To Your Illness

Many of you may be too young to recall the story of Norman Cousins. The 60-second version: When diagnosed with a degenerative disease (ankylosing spondylitis) he checked himself into a hotel across the street from his hospital, and with the support of his doctor and his friend, Allen Funt (Host of Candid Camera-are you too young to remember that, too???), he basically laughed himself into remission. He wrote a book about his experience, Anatomy of an Illness, and a new era-psychoneuroimmunology began.

Scientists began to study the healing power of humor and validate that there really is truth to the saying, “Laughter’s the best medicine.” Benefits to your cardiovascular system, your respiratory system, your musculoskeletal system, your immune system, your endocrine system, your nervous system, your digestive system-the evidence grows leaps and bounds daily! But here’s my suggestion: Don’t wait for further proof. Do a little self-experimentation. Incorporate humor into your daily routine. Make humor a habit and enjoy a healthier you!

Create a humor habit

Norman Cousins created a humor habit by watching reels and reels of Candid Camera (that was before VCRs and TiVo). Below are a few techniques to help create your humor habit:

Jokes and Anecdotes

I think everyone ought to learn at least one joke. Something short, easy to remember, and non-offensive. But better than jokes are stories. What’s most personal is most universal. Those who know and love me will understand why I so enjoyed the story sent to me by my angel, Jim Brown. I hope you enjoy it half as much as I did!

Several days ago as I left a meeting at a hotel, I desperately gave myself a personal TSA pat down. I was looking for my car keys. They weren’t in my pockets. A quick search in the meeting room revealed nothing. Suddenly I realized I must have left them in the car. Frantically, I headed for the parking lot.

My wife had scolded me many times for leaving the keys in the ignition. My theory is that the ignition is the best place not to lose them. Her theory is that the car will be stolen. As I burst through the door, I came to a terrifying conclusion. Her theory was right! The parking lot was empty. I immediately called the police. I gave them my location, and confessed that I’d left my keys in the car and that it’d been stolen.

Then I made the most difficult call of all. “Sweetheart,” I stammered. (I always call her sweetheart, especially in times like these.) “I left my keys in the car and it’s been stolen.” There was a period of silence. I thought the call had been dropped, but then I heard her voice. “Are you kiddin’ me?!” she barked, “I dropped you off at the hotel!!!”

Now it was my time to be silent. Embarrassed, I said, “Well, please come and get me.”

She retorted, “I will… as soon as I convince this cop I didn’t steal your car!”

Manipulate your environment

Increase your likelihood of experiencing humor by keeping things that amuse you within arm’s reach. Books, audio clips, games or pictures-what brings you a smile, or better yet a chuckle?

Create Your Humor Habit:

Jigsaw Puzzles-for your computer!

Putting together a puzzle can be relaxing, fun, and good for your brain! But perhaps you’re a bit short on time or table space. Checkout Mindjolt.com for puzzles and lots of fun games. Dr. O. Carl Simonton of the Simonton Cancer Institute determined that play is crucial to our well-being, and that we’d all be healthier if we slated 15-30 minutes of play into our day. Schedule some time for puzzles in your repertoire of recreation!

Karyn Buxman, neurohumorist, is the author of the book Lead with Levity: Strategic Humor for Leaders and creator of an 18 (or 30) day online program to help leaders authentically, consistently and strategically use humor to enhance communication, build resilience and boost engagement. Click here to listen to 3 sample lessons.

She can also be reached via:

Karyn@KarynBuxman.com
Twitter: @KarynBuxman
Facebook: FB.com/KarynBuxmanSpeaks
LinkedIn: Linkedin.com/in/KarynBuxman
Candy-grams: 1465 C St. #3318 SD, CA 92101
Smoke signals: avoid when prohibited by fire season!

Posted in: Healthcare, Humor

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Derailment (Humor Challenge Day 16)

One of the theories of humor is that it comes from incongruity or derailment. That moment of absurdity that occurs when your mind thinks your train of thought is heading one direction, and then suddenly goes another, triggers our brain to laugh.

Today’s humor challenge: Practice derailment by playing with aphorisms.

An aphorism is a short phrase that expresses a truth or wisdom. For instance, you’ve probably heard the following aphorisms:

  • The early bird catches the worm.
  • Crime  doesn’t pay.
  • Too may cooks spoil the broth.
  • Fish and guests smell after 3 days.

One way to play with aphorisms is to take your list of phrases, cut them in half, and then mix them up to create new and funny phrases, like

  • The early bird doesn’t pay.
  • Crime catches the worm.
  • Fish and guests spoil the broth.
  • Too any cooks smell after 3 days.

Another way to play with derailment and incongruity is to take the first half of the aphorisms and then make up your own endings. A first grade teacher did this with her class. They came up with some great creative—and funny—sayings, like

  • A penny saved is… not much!
  • Two’s company. Three’s… the Musketeers!
  • Laugh and the whole world laughs with you. Cry and… you have to blow your nose.

That’s today’s challenge. Practice derailment and incongruity by playing with aphorisms. Stretch your humor muscle.

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

 

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Moments of Mirth (Humor Challenge Day 15)

Here’s a great way to experience humor that doesn’t require you to go anywhere or do anything other than relax and… remember a past humorous memory or Moment of Mirth.

Todays humor challenge: Moments of Mirth.

We’ve all got stories that we share when we get together with friends or family—usually preceded by “Remember the time when…?” These stories usually grow and get even funnier over time.

I keep a journal and when I think of another Moment of Mirth (MOM) I jot it down. There’s an old Chinese proverb that says the palest of ink is better than the sharpest memory. (Especially MY memory!)

When feeling like I need a humor boost I pull out my MOM journal and laugh over an incident that might have otherwise been forgotten. Like when my son Adam, at 4-years old, hopped up into the barber chair and said to the barber, “Gimme a flat top.”

The barber saw the surprised look on my face and said to Adam, “Is that what your mom wants?”

Adam looked him straight in the eye and shot back, “Why would my mom want a flat top?”

Recalling humorous events can be just as entertaining (maybe even more!) than when you actually experienced them the first time. Recalling funny stories can provide physiological benefits like muscle relaxation. This can provide psychological benefits like decreased anxiety or depression. And you can even experience social benefits when you share these stories with others.

So that’s today’s challenge: Reminisce for a bit. Tap into a Moment Of Mirth. Write it down. And then to get even more mileage out of it, reach out to someone today and share it. You’ll both benefit!

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

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Voicemail (Humor Challenge Day 14)

I called my son, Adam, and I heard him respond, “Hello? Hello?”

“Adam, it’s mom,” I said.

“Hello? Your reception is terrible. Try moving to a better spot,” Adam said.

I walked to the other side of the room. “How’s that? Any better?”

“I can hardly hear you,” he said. “Try moving to a different spot.”

I walked to the other side of the room. “How’s that?” I said a little louder.

“I can barely hear you. Can you move around?”

I walked to a different spot. Now yelling, I said, “Can you hear me now?” And then I heard…

“This is Adam’s voicemail. Please leave your name and number and he’ll call you back.”

 

Today’s humor challenge: Leave something humorous on your outgoing voicemail message.

You can have fun AND give folks calling you a reason to smile. Over the years I’ve collected dozens and dozens of humorous outgoing voicemail messages. Here are a few of my favorites. Try one of these, search for other funny messages, or make up one of your own (and send it to me for my collection!).

  • This is not an answering machine – this is a telepathic thought-recording device. After the tone, think about your name, your reason for calling, and a number where I can reach you, and I’ll think about returning your call.
  • Hi. I am probably home, I’m just avoiding someone I don’t like. Leave me a message, and if I don’t call back, it’s you.
  • Hi! Now you say something…

That’s today’s humor challenge. Have fun. Be creative. Create a funny outgoing voicemail message. Voicemail has become a way of life. Might as well make it fun!

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

 

 

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Become a Student of Humor (Day 13)

It was eight o’clock on a Monday morning and I was lost in thought about the day’s events when suddenly a rhythmic thumping noise brought my seven-year-old to mind.

“Adam!” I called out. No answer.

“Adam!” I called again. Still no answer.

Now a mom-on-a-mission, I bounded up the stairs. As I approached Adam’s room I could feel the “Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!”

I opened his door and there was Adam—jumping up and down on his bed— wearing nothing but his underwear and a big smile . . .  . . . swinging his school clothes over his head… singing and kicking and dancing!

I lost it! “What do you think you’re doing?”

Adam stopped mid-jump, grinned a huge grin, and with the “wisdom of Yoda,” said, “Don’t ya think gettin’ dressed in the morning oughta be more fun?!”

My first response?  “NO!!!”

My next response? “No more of Mommy’s motivational tapes for you, young man!”

But moments later, the humor and wisdom of my son got through to me, and I marveled at his ability to find laughter and delight in such an ordinary task.

Children have little problem finding humor in day-to-day life. However, by the time you become an adult, to experience more humor in your daily life, often takes more purpose and intention.

Today’s challenge: Become a student of humor.

There are lots of ways to become a student of humor—you can find information about the how and why of humor in books, articles, studies, websites, ezines… But if you’d like to streamline the process, I have a shortcut for you. There’s an incredible non-profit organization I have found incredibly valuable: the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor.

This organization is the community for those who study, practice and promote healthy humor. They have numerous resources on their website, a monthly e-zine with the latest updates in therapeutic and applied humor, and an annual conference which brings like-minded people together from around the world. AATH even has an emersion program called Humor Academy, a 3-year course on the theory and application of humor (available for graduate credit). You can also find AATH on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

There are other organizations like the International Society of Humor Studies (ISHS) and World Laughter Tour (WLT) that provide additional online content and conferences. I have tips & resources that I send to my tribe monthly in an ezine called LevityWorks. (You can sign up here).

Today’s challenge: Become a student of humor. Look for at least one resource that will help you reinforce the lessons of humor, after the challenge is completed, and on an ongoing basis.

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

 

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Laugh at yourself! (Day 12)

The ability to laugh at yourself reveals to others several important traits about you.

First, it shows you have a sense of humor—a desirable trait.

Next, when you practice self-effacing humor, you’re demonstrating your vulnerability. Those experiencing your humor see your openness in a way that makes you more approachable.

And when you poke fun at yourself, you’re demonstrating poise and self-assurance. Being able to laugh at yourself takes a strong level of self-confidence.

So today’s challenge: Laugh at yourself.

Forgot your computer password? Left your zipper in the down position? Locked your keys in the car—again? Lighten up. Show others that you recognize that you aren’t perfect, that you’re capable of making mistakes, and that you can reframe and see imperfections through the lens of humor.

Numerous members of my family—including me—deal with Attention Deficit Disorder. We may have this disorder, but it doesn’t have us! We play with our pain and joke about the derailments, the loss of productivity, and the accompanying frustrations.

If you’ve ever seen the movie UP! then you’ve seen the poster child, er… dog, for our cause. You know that Dug (the dog) has been derailed when he shouts, “Squirrel!” (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click here to see a clip.) So my office is decorated with various stuffed squirrels, we have squirrel Christmas tree ornaments, and the phrase “squirrel” has taken on a different—and funny—meaning among family and friends. One of my favorite jokes:

 

How many kids with ADD does it take to change a light bulb?

Let’s go ride our bikes!

 

My kidding about ADD gives me a sense of empowerment, and that gets communicated to others through shared humor.

Again, today’s challenge, laugh at yourself. Show others that you can take yourself lightly. Empower yourself and strengthen your relationships.

That’s it for today. Congratulations on your commitment to creating a healthier, happier you! I hope you’ll join me tomorrow for the next 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.    www.KarynBuxman.com/30-day-humor-challenge-2015

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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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