Laughter is the best medicine.
This may sound like a cliché, but it’s a scientific fact. Studies have shown that a glorious giggle fit can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, promote heart health, stimulate circulation and boost your immune system. One of the keys to ensuring a life full of beneficial belly laughs is maintaining a positive outlook. Finding the humour, not the horror, in the foibles of everyday living goes a long way to lightening your mood and opening the door to a great guffaw.
Here are 10 potentially spirit-breaking scenarios and our tips for nurturing levity over hissy fits and uncontrollable weeping.
SITUATION: You drop the Thanksgiving turkey en route to a dining room full of guests.
LAUGH IT OFF: Immediately pretend you’re Martha Stewart. As horrified and sympathetic guests look on, begin extolling the virtues of floor lint as an underused garnish. If they balk, whack them with a wooden spoon – just like Martha would.
SITUATION: You’re at the airport and your flight to Hawaii has just been delayed by three hours. Again.
LAUGH IT OFF: Embrace the endless wait time as an excellent opportunity to enjoy the terminal, where you can practise overpaying for food, water and entertainment just like you will when you eventually reach your destination.
SITUATION: You stub your pinkie toe, hard, against a leg of the coffee table.
LAUGH IT OFF: Before launching into a flurry of expletives, remember that coffee tables have feelings, too, and yours probably didn’t mean any harm. Nonetheless, make a veiled threat about firewood and let the table think about what it’s done.
SITUATION: You’ve locked your keys in your car in an empty parking lot.
LAUGH IT OFF: Tell yourself that this could have been much worse. It could be raining. As it immediately begins to rain, marvel at the sheer force of your thoughts. Promptly wish for a million dollars and await its arrival.
SITUATION: Your precious, beautiful kitty has just peed all over your precious, beautiful down comforter.
LAUGH IT OFF: Clearly your cat has excellent taste, since it’s just used traditional tabby tactics to stake its claim to the same comforter you love so much. Congratulate yourself for owning such a refined feline as you call the dry cleaner.
Page 1 of 2Four more situations to laugh about
SITUATION: You taped the series finale of your favourite TV show, only to discover (too late) that your tape ran out five minutes too soon.
LAUGH IT OFF: One word: YouTube. You’re welcome.
SITUATION: You’re sitting on the bus and the world’s most obnoxious teenagers plant themselves all around you.
LAUGH IT OFF: As you begin mentally re-evaluating your stance on human sterilization, remember that you, too, were young once...though perhaps not as loud or as pierced.
SITUATION: You accidentally send a risqué photo of yourself to everyone in your e-mail address book.
LAUGH IT OFF: Approach the ensuing period of estrangement from your family and friends as some well-deserved me time. Time to become a better you – namely, a you that doesn’t store risqué photos of yourself on your hard drive.
SITUATION: You’re being audited by the government.
LAUGH IT OFF: Oh, dear. This is terribly unfunny. You’ve broken us. We can’t help you. Best of luck.
SITUATION: At a funeral or some equally serious ceremony, you begin laughing uncontrollably for a completely inappropriate reason.
LAUGH IT OFF: You’re already there, friend! Quietly excuse yourself, let he laughter run its course and savour the feeling.
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Treating people right
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