The Eight Steps to Stress-less Success
What is Flexible and Fluid, As Well As Being Before and After Hummingbird?
“Take your work in life seriously...take yourself lightly.” ~ C.W. Metcalf, author of Lighten Up.
“A merry heart makes a good medicine...” ~ Old Hebrew Proverb.
Did you figure out the answer to the riddle? The words human and humor both start with the prefix “hum” which comes from the Latin term that means “to be flexible and fluid”. Furthermore, you will find human before hummingbird and humor after hummingbird in the dictionary. All of which brings us to the connection between breathing, smiling, humor and being human.
When you use healthy humor (which means that it is only directed at yourself, not others, and it does not have a negative effect on your self-esteem) you will invite laughter. Laughing will both put a smile on your face and make you breathe deeper. In fact, good deep belly laughs for several minutes have the same positive effect on the heart as an aerobic workout. Plus, it is very good “medicine” for your Soul.
Norman Cousins found this out in his life. Potentials Media writes of him, “Cousins is often described as the man who laughed his way to health, a simplified explanation of the controversial healing method the author/editor employed when he was diagnosed in the mid-1960’s as having ankylosing spondylitis. The degenerative disease causes the breakdown of collagen, the fibrous tissue that binds together the body’s cells. Almost completely paralyzed, given only a few months to live, Cousins ordered himself checked out of the hospital. He moved into a hotel room and began taking extremely high doses of vitamin C and also exposed himself to equally high doses of humor.
Slowly Norman regained use of his limbs. As his condition steadily improved over the following months, Cousins resumed his busy life, eventually returning to work full-time at the Saturday Review. Cousins detailed his journey in “Anatomy of an Illness.”
In December, 1980, some fifteen years after winning his bout with ankylosing spondylitis, Cousins suffered a near-fatal heart attack while teaching in California. As before, he made his body a personal laboratory. He refused morphine, changed his visiting schedule to ensure rest, and gradually improved. Cousins once again published his findings in “The Healing Heart” for millions to learn from and enjoy.”
Pretty powerful stuff, huh??!!
I would like to invite you to find time to laugh at least three times every day. Start by standing in front of a mirror. Place your index finger on the tip of your nose. Push it back and up slightly. While holding it there, stick your tongue in and out at a rapid pace. If you would like to turbo-charge this activity, tell your friends about it and make it your “salute” that you all would use to accompany handshakes and hugs (with discretion, of course...some of the world just doesn’t quite get the humor conversation quite yet...but I’m working on that).
Years ago, I had the privilege of doing some “humor therapy” training with C.W. Metcalf. I won’t be so dramatic as to say that it saved my life, but it certainly did change it. I learned to be less serious. I learned to let go of perfectionism (Well, at least some of it). I learned to lighten up. And that, my friends, is the power of consciously breathing and smiling through humor. Furthermore, your mood and energy are contagious, and that can’t help but leave others feeling better as well.
If you need more of a jump-start with your humor, then I would suggest clown noses and Groucho Marx glasses (I keep large quantities of both, in case any of my clients have emergencies). They are great to get you breathing deeply, smiling and laughing. They will help you to be more “human”, at least as the word truly means. Make it as important and regular as brushing your teeth.
And yes, this will carry you along even further on your journey of Stress-less Success.