I am very grateful for the things that make me laugh. Laughter is one of the best stress-busters I know. Whenever I feel stressed and hassled, I do my best to be mindful: being100% present in the moment, my attention focused on what is happening second-by-second. Humour anchors me in the present moment. Sometimes, when stress threatens to overwhelm me, I take a moment to try and see the funny side of the situation. More often than not, this can defuse said situation on the spot. Sometimes I plaster a smile on my face and try to think about something or someone that makes me laugh. Is there something like laughter meditation? And if not, why not? At other times, I need a bit of help and that is where the ten things of thankful listed below come in:
1. I am seriously grateful for great stand-up comics and hilarious comic sketches. I am even more grateful that many of these sketches are now instantly accessible on Youtube. In less than 5 minutes, a comic sketch can have me laughing out loud, all the stress and distress forgotten for the moment, all tension acutely relieved. One of my favourites is this one by French and Saunders: (and yes, of course it has a horsey theme!)
2. Funny films cheer me up on rainy days and I am very grateful that so many comedies are made into films every year. especially if they are midlife. One of my favourites is “Enough Said,” starring Julia Louis Dreyfus and James Gandolfini in one of his last screen roles. Louis Dreyfus plays a nearly empty nester who’s back on the market and discovering the challenges of dating in midlife – a smart comedy about dating in your 50s. I am also very grateful for funny TV series: who could forget the “Vicar of Dibley”, “The Golden Girls” and “Frazier”? – when I am in need of comic relief, I watch reruns of these. I have been thinking that it may be useful to have a few on hand for participants in our Mindful Midlife Renewal Retreats to watch…
3. I am also deeply grateful for all the funny books that have crossed my path and that keep showing up to lighten my days. When I have to be patient, when I have to wait, especially if it is a long and stressful wait, nothing takes my mind off my worries more efficiently than a funny book. Not only does it distract me, not only does it offer me temporary escape, but it often goes a fair way to « curing » my distress by lightening my mood. Lots of books have made me chuckle, but few have made me laugh out loud and just a handful have had me in hysterics. I am a Terry Pratchett fan and two of my favourite books of his are “Mort” and “The Colour of Magic“. A few more that I would like to mention:
- A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
- Wilt by Tom Sharpe
- The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
- From the back row by Amy Odell
- Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
4. I am most thankful for the Facebook pages and Facebook groups that make me laugh. One of my favourite pages is “Funny Horses” (Facebook.com/FunnyHorsesPage/). I also like “Very Funny Horse Bumper Stickers”. My favourite group is “Funny Horse Pictures and Videos” (Facebook.com/groups/1496050047282805/). Whenever I need a lift, I stop by for a minute or two and very soon I find something that makes me smile. I am so grateful that other people take the time to take pictures and make videos that make me laugh and that those people are willing to share their pics and videos online.
5. I am also grateful for the many funny things I read on Twitter. I follow a few people just because they make me smile. I like Chester of @ChestersColumn. One of his tweets: « Dis morning Oi mostly did floying changes. Lots of ’em. All in a row. And NONE of dem asked for !! #aheadofdagame » (he’s an Irish Sport Horse)
6. Pinterest also has a few very funny boards that I am very grateful for. Midlife can be a stressful time for many men and women, so anything that focuses on the funny side of midlife is a very welcome distraction. One of the boards I follow is Turning 50’s “Midlife Crisis”:
7. I am very thankful that I have a whole bunch of friends who make me laugh. Some people are just funnier than others, non? Just being with some people makes me happy, even before they have opened their mouths to say anything. One of my friends specifically, not meaning to be funny at all, sometimes comes out with something so funny, that I end up on the floor. I am so grateful to have such friends around me. I am also very grateful that modern technology allows me to pick up the phone and call a friend on the other side of the world, who has me in stitches within minutes of answering the phone. These friendships I nuture carefully, and cultivate freely, they are like therapy to me.
9. I am also very grateful for the many excellent jokes that I have heard over the years, mostly at the beginning of speeches. Sadly I am not very good at remembering jokes, but one that does stick in my mind is this one: A blonde decides to take up horseback riding, even though she has had no lessons and does not know anything about horses or riding. She succeeds in mounting the horse unassisted and the horse immediately springs into motion. Soon, it is galloping along at a steady and rhythmic pace, but the blonde starts to loose her balance and slips from the saddle. In terror, she grabs the horse’s mane but cannot get a firm grip. She tries to throw her arms around the horse’s neck, but to no avail. The horse gallops along, seemingly impervious to its terrorised rider. Finally, giving up her frail grip, she lets go and falls to the ground. Unfortunately, her foot has become entangled in a stirrup and she is now at the mercy of the horse’s pounding hooves as her head hits the ground again and again. She is mere moments away from losing consciousness when to her great fortune… the supermarket manager sees her and shuts the horse off.
10. I am quite partial to a good quote, as you may have gathered by now from all my posts about quotes (25 of the best Mindfulness Quotes). I am very grateful that a Google search for funny quotes immediately brings back 80 500 000 hits, so if anyone is looking for a funny quote or two to make them smile, they would be spoilt for choice! The best funny quotes, in my opinion, are those that are not only witty but also wise. As Kurt Vonnegut once said, “The best jokes are dangerous, and dangerous because they are in some way truthful.” Ex. “Before you criticise someone, walk a mile in their shoes (profoundly important saying). That way, you’ll be a mile from them AND you’ll have their nearly-new shoes.” Jack Handey I hope you have smiled at least once while reading this post.PS. 11. Please have a look at my friend Kappa’s great idea about a daily e-mail with a funny comic in the comments below.
PS. 11. Please have a look at my friend M.L. Kappa’s great idea in the comments below: websites where you can subscribe to receive a daily e-mail containing a funny comic.
I hope you have smiled at least once while reading this post and I hope you have an “absolutely fabulous” weekend.
This post is part of the MJP Gratitude Challenge and the Ten Things of Thankful Challenge (#10Thankful).