I have never considered myself a funny person. It is hard to be funny when all you see is the negative in everything. When I started feeling better and my thoughts were more clear and positive, I had to teach myself how to find the humor in life. The way I put it one time, was that my funny bone was broken and needed to be fixed.
Eventually, I learned that I do have a sense of humor. It was just a little squashed from not having been used for so long. Once I began using my sense of humor, I found it a great way to diffuse my emotions when I am angry or irritated. It has also been a great tool in taking the seriousness out of a situation, so I do not worry and stress about things as much. The most important thing I discovered about having a sense of humor, is that it is a great way to bond with the people in your life.
Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain and conflict. Nothing works faster to bring your mind back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your load, inspires hope, connects you to others and keeps you grounded focused and alert. With its ability to heal and renew us, laughter is a wonderful resource for overcoming problems, enhancing relationships, and supporting both physical and mental health.
More than just a break from sadness and pain, laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult times something as simple as a smile can go a long way to making us feel better.
Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You cannot feel anxious, angry or sad if you are laughing.
Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed
This week I discovered what I think is a terrific site. It is Mental Health Humor by Chato B. Stewart.
For the last three years in May, Mr. Stewart has hosted a Cartoon-A-Thon for Mental Health Awareness Month. This year his theme is Mental Health Heroes. Each day in May, he will highlight a Mental Health Hero by drawing a caricature of them.
Here is just a tiny bit of his story in his own words.
“I started out with my personal hero… ME! When I look back just 3 years ago, I was lost; had no hope and in the hospital from a suicide attempt. It was my last call for help. O.K., maybe I called a few other times in the past… As my Med manager says, it was “multiple attempts.” This time my cries for help were heard by a piece of paper and a dull pencil in the hospital… The Psych Ward doesn’t let us have sharp pencils. I guess, they fear, we might poke an eye out or something. It was there, it all started. Instead of writing a journal, I drew cartoons of my mental vacation. I found focus and balance in drawing. Yes, it was art therapy with cartoons!”
One of the things I like about Mr. Stewart and his humor is his ability to point out the humorous side of what it is like to live with a mental illness. For me, it takes some of the seriousness out of the situation and allows me to see some of what I have encountered in a less discouraging light. I have posted two of his cartoon creations. I encourage you to visit his site and see his other work.
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