Karyn Buxman

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Posts Tagged 'what’s so funny about diabetes'

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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Humor and Healing: Laughing To Maintain Perspective

Humor is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not; and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs. Christopher Morley

Whether you’re dealing with a chronic health condition like diabetes or heart disease, are a caregiver for someone with those conditions, or are just trying to make it through life with less stress and more fun, humor helps. At times when we feel stressed out or overwhelmed (an exceptional set of circumstances I like to call a Typical Friday Afternoon!) it can be difficult to maintain a realistic set of proportion about what’s going on in our lives. All of our problems and challenges become enlarged: all of a sudden, the fact that you’ve lost your phone charger is as catastrophic an event as you’ve ever experienced.

Rationally, you know that’s not true. Losing a phone charger probably doesn’t even  rate on your personal list of the 101 Most Terrible Things That Have Happened. It might not even be in the top 1,001! But when we’re highly stressed and overwhelmed, it’s easy to forget that. Our emotional resources are already so overtaxed that one more stressor is enough to tip us right over the edge. If you’ve ever found yourself sobbing over a lost phone charger the way you’d cry during Bambi, you know what I’m talking about.

What do you do in those situations?

Step one is to try and recognize the moment where things get out of whack. Practicing mindfulness and awareness of our emotional state is an essential technique in the holistic management of chronic illness. When you feel your emotions escalating way more than they need to, given the circumstances (and YOU are the only valid judge of this criteria!) it’s time to stop what you are doing and take a five minute humor break.

During that five minutes, do something that makes you laugh – or at least smile.  Check out your favorite funny websites. Call a humor hotline. Practice some laughter yoga techniques. Spend five minutes enjoying humor. You’ll feel better!

At the end of those five minutes, your phone charger will still be lost – but you’ll find that you’re much better prepared to deal with searching for it. Laughter restores and promotes emotional balance, in part by creating physical changes within our bodies. The act of laughing lowers blood pressure, increases circulation, and even helps minimize blood sugar spikes. Enjoying humor is a great, all-natural way to bring perspective back into your day and put your body back in balance.

PS: Still looking for your phone charger? Try your jacket pocket. That’s almost always where I find mine! What’s the strangest place you’ve ever found your phone charger?


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A Day in the Life of Diabetes

It’s time to show the world what Diabetes looks like! I’m really excited about the American Diabetes Association’s project, A Day in the Life of Diabetes, to demonstrate the increasing impact diabetes has on our families and communities nationwide.  Successfully managing diabetes can be a herculean task, making what might seem like an otherwise ordinary life rather extraordinary.

You are invitedto share a personal image, on the Association’s Facebook page, representing what “A Day in the Life of Diabetes” means to them. The image can be a picture of themselves, someone they care about, or otherwise represent how the disease impacts their lives.  The image will then make up a larger mosaic image that will embody the message of “A Day in the Life of Diabetes.”

To encourage individuals to share photos of A Day in the Life of Diabetes on Facebook, CVS/pharmacy® will donate $1 to the American Diabetes Association for every photo/image uploaded, up to $25,000.

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What’s So Funny About Diabetes: Laughter Yoga

Generally, I don’t have a hard time convincing people to add the healing power of humor to their diabetes management routine.  Unlike diet and exercise, laughing is actually fun.  (Yes, I know there are people who will tell you there’s nothing more fun than an invigorating spin class. I am not one of those people.) Still, there are times when it seems like there’s nothing in your life worth laughing about.

My friends, this is what yoga laughter was made for. I encourage you to check laughter yoga out. If you ever need to put a smile on your face in a hurry, try this simple exercise from What’s So Funny About Diabetes?: A Creative Approach to Coping with Your Disease. It’s one of my absolute favorites:

Gradient Laughter

Start by smiling—then slowly begin to laugh with a gentle chuckle. Increase the intensity and volume of the laugh until you’ve achieved a hearty laugh. Then gradually bring the laugh back down to a smile again.

It sounds simple, right? Just try it. It’s okay if you do this all on your own, in the privacy of your own room. No one needs to know what you’re laughing about! Feel the oxygen coming into your lungs as you laugh? That’s pumping up your circulatory system, great for promoting healing and boosting your energy level. Hearty laughter drops the blood pressure and promotes immune function. When you’re laughing, you won’t just feel better – you’ll be better!

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Diabetes Awareness Month: Making Time for Humor

As we celebrate Diabetes Awareness Month, I’d like to share a few thoughts on making time for humor.  We all live extremely busy lives, balancing careers, families, social lives and managing our health care. Days go by at light speed.  We’re always on the go. One minute we’re running here, the next we’re going there, with a million things to do. Our to-do lists are six miles long, on average, and every item never gets crossed off. At this pace, entire days can go by when there’s just no time to laugh.  Those days add up, and before you know it, you’re looking at weeks, even months, without humor.

Don’t believe me? Ask yourself this. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? For most people, it’s been a while. But as I explain in What’s So Funny About Diabetes?, people with diabetes enjoy significantly better health when they laugh regularly and often. There are multiple ways humor helps us achieve effective diabetes management. Something as simple as laughing at your favorite sit com has been clinically proven to minimize post-meal blood sugar spikes.

How can you break through the busy to incorporate more humor into your life? Try treating yourself to a humor appetizer.  Since we know that laughing prior to meals helps minimize blood sugar spikes later on, make a point of enjoying humor before you eat.  This doesn’t have to be difficult!

If you’re in the habit of checking your emails first thing in the morning (and many of us are!) subscribe to a funny Joke of the Day list and read those before breakfast.  Schedule lunch dates with your funniest friends or co-workers.  Put your favorite sit com on the tv while you’re preparing dinner. (Caution: don’t try to make complicated recipes while watching The Big Bang Theory -it’s really easy for everything to go horribly, horribly wrong. Ask me how I know this!)

What’s your favorite tip for adding humor to your daily routine?

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Election Day Humor

To err is human. To blame someone else…that’s politics!

Here we are, at long last – Election Day 2012!  It’s your chance to exercise your right to vote. Please do! To put a smile on your face before you head to the polls, here’s some Election Day Humor:

If Obama wins, I will leave the country. If Romney wins, I will leave the country. This is not a political joke, I just want to travel.

The biggest problem with political jokes is that they get elected!

Politicians are like diapers.They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.

What’s So Funny About Diabetes: A Note About Political Humor

Political humor is intensely popular – just ask Jon Stewart! Jokes about President Obama or his opponent, Mitt Romney, work well for late night TV stars – but they can be pretty problematical in person. Etiquette experts tell us that it’s best to avoid all humor about politics, religion, and any other contentious subject. Humor advocates, myself included, think that political humor has a place – but you do need to be careful with it.

Politics are intensely personal. The issues being discussed – health care, the economy, foreign policy, and more – aren’t abstract concepts. They’re central to our existence, on a daily basis. People become very invested in the outcome of elections, because the quality of their life will change based upon the results. For a lot of people, this is no joking matter. When they hear people laughing about the election, they can feel that their concerns are being trivialized or dismissed. This results in anger and upset, which they express – it doesn’t take long to discover exactly why political humor has such a bad reputation.

Should You Use Political Humor?

One way to use political humor safely is to keep it general.  Rather than making fun of a particular candidate or party, laughing about the absurdities of our political process allows everyone to enjoy the humor without feeling attacked or slighted.

What happens if you’ve got a great dig about Romney or a hysterical Obama joke you’re dying to share? In What’s So Funny About Diabetes?: A Creative Approach to Coping with Your Disease, I recommend that people “Check their BET” before telling potentially upsetting humor. BET stands for Bond, Environment, and Timing.

Bond: How well do you know the people you’re telling the political joke to? If you’ve worked on the campaign trail together, chances are you share the same style political humor.  If you don’t have the first clue if your audience identifies as Democrat, Republican, Conservative or Liberal, you don’t know them well enough to do political humor.

Environment: Not all humor works equally well in every setting. Be mindful of your surroundings before using political humor. Sensitive locations like the workplace are probably not the ideal setting for political humor – unless you have plans of finding other employment after the election!

Timing:  Choose the appropriate moment to share political humor. If your audience is relaxed and receptive, fine. If they’re stressed out, in crisis mode, or trying to concentrate on something else, your jokes may be seen as an annoyance or distraction rather than funny.

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What’s So Funny About Diabetes: Diabetes Awareness Month Starts Today!

An anxious woman called her doctor. “I’m diabetic and I’m afraid I’ve had too much sugar today,” she said.

“Are you light-headed? ” the nurse asked.

“No,” the caller answered, “I’m a brunette”.

Are you ready? November 1st marks the beginning of Diabetes Awareness Month! For the next 30 days, we’re going to be featuring jokes, cartoons, and all types of diabetes-themed  humor, designed to make you laugh.  Laughter has a vital role to play in your diabetes management. When you laugh, your body responds in many ways: lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, and minimizing post-meal blood sugar spikes.  Enjoying humor is lots of fun – and it can actually make you feel better!

Humor helps:

  • If you have Type 1 Diabetes
  • If you have Type 2 Diabetes
  • If you have Gestational Diabetes
  • If you don’t have diabetes at all – but you love someone who does!

In What’s So Funny About Diabetes?: A Creative Approach to Coping with Your Disease you can read about how humor can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar. Here’s a quick peek between the covers:

Does your blood sugar spike after suppertime? Humor can help lower the increase in blood sugar you experience after eating a meal. A research study from Japan showed that those who watched a brief comedy show after eating had lower glucose values than those who did not see the program.

Over two days, participants were given identical meals. On one day, they watched a humorless lecture, and the next they watched a Japanese comedy show. The group of 19 people with diabetes and five without had their blood glucose monitored during the study.

While non-diabetics showed no difference in blood glucose following the serious lecture or the comedy show, diabetics showed significantly lower blood glucose levels following the comedy show, but not the boring lecture. (The study was published in Diabetes Care.) The glucose reducing effect of humor was replicated in three additional studies. While the scientists can’t yet put their finger on what’s responsible for the blood-glucose lowering effect in diabetics, the researchers suggest that these findings point to “the importance of daily opportunities for laughter in patients with diabetes.”

Studies show that laughing lowers your levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol increases insulin resistance, while adrenaline tells your liver to pump more glucose into your blood. The combined effect can be a lasting reduction in blood glucose levels. In other words, laughter can probably help lower your blood glucose and keep it down for quite a while!

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What’s So Funny About Diabetes: Keeping Perspective

Diabetes screening may not lower overall death rate!” the headline screams, reporting the latest insights from a 10-year British study.  This is the type of headline that highlights the value of humor. It’s way too easy to get depressed when all the messaging you hear is negative and down-beat. This takes a toll on your emotional health, obviously, and it can be bad news for your physical well-being.

Feelings of despair, hopelessness, fear, and frustration can manifest as cardiac problems. Sustained emotional stress has long been identified as a factor in cardiac disease. As you know, as a person with diabetes, you’re already at higher risk for heart disease, and more serious heart disease, than a person who doesn’t have diabetes.  (You may have heard the term Diabetic Heart Disease. You can learn more about that here.)

Humor and Healing: Understanding Sarcasm and Dark  Humor

You can use humor to help counter the feelings of depression and anxiety that can arise upon reading gloom and doom headlines about life with diabetes.  Sarcasm has its place. Upon reading the diabetes screening may not lower overall death rate headline, more than one reader was provoked to reflect that of course screening doesn’t stop people from dying…stepping off of this mortal coil is on everyone’s to-do list.

This type of sarcastic, darker humor points out an uncomfortable truth about everyone’s existence while considering one’s individual circumstances. It’s a type of ‘re-framing’, adjusting one’s mental perspective on a situation in order to be able to better deal with it emotionally. This type of observational humor can make people uncomfortable. Sometimes people will say this humor is dark, or too dark. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value!  Even bitter laughter lowers stress levels, improving circulation and promoting cardiovascular health.

“I only sing in the shower. I would join a choir, but I don’t think my bathtub can hold that many people.
” – Jarod Kintz

Learn More About Humor and Healing

If you’d like to learn more about the best ways to use humor to manage your diabetes more effectively, you’ll want to readWhat’s So Funny About Diabetes?: A Creative Approach to Coping with Your Disease It’s a short, simple, fun to read guide teaching you how to make the Humor Habit part of your health care routine. Changing your life has never been so much fun.


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What’s So Funny About Blood Sugar Control?


For a long time, we’ve heard that too much sugar can make you larger. But did you know that too much sugar can also make you smaller? Researchers from the Australia National University have found that people who consistently experience high blood sugar levels (although not necessarily high enough to trigger concerns of diabetes or even pre-diabetes) are more likely to experience shrinkage of the hippocampus and amygdala.The health and size of these two brain structures has significant bearing on the development of many cognitive concerns, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.

In other words, blood sugar control’s not just for diabetics anymore! Keeping your blood sugars in the ideal range (this varies, of course, with individual circumstances, but numbers between 80-100 are good to see!) is great news for anyone who wants to protect their mental health and intellectual agility.

There are many ways to control your blood sugar. Watching your diet and exercising regularly can do great things for your blood sugar control.  It’s also a good idea to do lots of laughing. Humor benefits our physical and emotional health. Laughter lifts the mood and helps restore emotional resiliency. It can also play a significant role in blood sugar control.

Check out this story from the Huffington Post highlighting the healing power of humor as an effective way to achieve better blood sugar control. Researchers have found that laughing heartily after a meal can help control blood sugar spikes. That means if you’re out for dinner and a show with your sweetie, choose a comedy – you’ll have a great time laughing while managing your blood sugar!

Staying in? Watch a funny movie at home.  Some of our favorites:

Clue: The Movie

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Bride of the Monster

A Christmas Story

We can’t always eat a perfectly healthy diet. There are days when it’s really hard – almost impossible – to get a workout in.  Laughter, on the other hand, is always available, 1005 portable, and totally free.  Make a point of enjoying humor every day. It’s one of the best things you can do to control your blood sugar levels – good for your health now and in the years to come!

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What’s So Funny About Diabetes: Go For the Gold

I admit it: I’m an Olympics junkie! Right now, as I’m writing these words, they’re showing Usian Bolt receive the Gold Medal.  He has once again been recognized as the world’s fastest man.  And let us give credit where credit is due: running 100 meters in less than 10 seconds is pretty amazing!

Do you know what else is amazing?  Successfully managing your diabetes, day in and day out, week after week, month after month, year after year after year. We hear so much about the dedication and determination of Olympic athletes – but hardly a peep about the drive, skill, and strength it takes to take care of yourself when you have diabetes.

Well, that’s enough of that! Today, in honor of the 2012 Olympic Games, I invite you to award yourself with an honorary Gold Medal.  You may not be running 100 meters in 10 seconds – but you’re running a marathon race against your pancreas, and it never ever stops.

The good news is that you’re winning. When it comes to taking care of your health, nobody wants it more than you do. Nobody works harder. Nobody can test your sugar for you, nor make you say “No Thanks!” instead of “Give me that cheesecake!”  It’s your dedication and determination that keeps you healthy and well. That’s worthy of some serious recognition.

Stand up and celebrate.  Let the people around you know how well you’re managing your diabetes.  Make sure YOU know how well you’re doing. It’s very easy to take our own accomplishments completely for granted – even when they’re Olympic in scale! Giving yourself a Gold Medal every now and then ( or a chance to see your favorite band play live, or a trip to enjoy the beach – whatever you consider to be a great reward for a significant effort) not only provides serious emotional validation for all the hard work you’re doing (which is important!) but it also helps you remain motivated to keep working hard at having fun – the best thing you can do to help effectively manage your diabetes.

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