Saturday, January 27, 2018

Soul Sustenance: Laughter

A recent article mentioned a study that shows kids these days are more obsessed with perfection than many previous generations were, and this obsession is associated with increased depression and anxiety. According to Lee Volpe, laughter may seem out of reach at times, but learning to go with the flow and laughing at the imperfections along the way is where many can find joy, and ultimately…peace.

Here is some advice from Lee to help avoid anxiety and depression:

STOP: What feels like forever is only just a moment.
BREATHE: In the quiet moments you may hear the most.
LAUGH: Find the “fun”—you have to sometimes. Humor is in any given situation, even in the most inappropriate, you can still see the “sick” humor, whether you turn a blind-eye or not.
PLAY: Go find your own fun, your “tribe” of people, your favorite things…and spoil yourself!
LOVE: Love yourself, your “beauty marks”, as well as your "scars." They make you uniquely you, our differences are what make us shine.

I had a chance to interview Lee to learn more.

Why is laughter so beneficial?
Not only does laughter feel good, but it is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself—and it’s free! A total body workout positively effecting everything from your brain to your feet, without the gym membership fees. Evidence shows that laughing can fight disease by removing tension and it promotes a positive coping response to stressful situations.
Mark Twain said,”When you laugh, your mind, body, and spirit change.”    

How can people find humor even in tense situations?
“I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.” (Bob Hope)
Stay positive and practice, practice, practice. The more you find the funny moments, the more you’ll see them in your everyday life. Check-out of the stressful situation and check-in with yourself, breathe, and regroup. Give yourself permission to laugh. Cracking a joke in a tense situation releases negativity, and those around will appreciate the distraction of some comic relief. Not all situation will end in a belly laugh and that’s okay. When humor seems too out of reach just remember to find the positive, follow it, and in time you will look back and discover a lingering laughter tor two.

How does laughter help balance perfectionism?
Learning to laugh at yourself will balance any perfectionist tendencies. Laughter isn’t just a physical response with long-term health benefits, it is actually a mental vacation everyone needs to go on. Perfectionists tend to be more anxious, neurotic, and exhausted in their daily lives. Laughter reduces stress, lowers cortisol levels, and actually burns calories! So skip the gym today and laugh at yourself instead.

Lee Volpe ( is the author of Black Sheep Tries Bleach: Humorous Stories to Ease Life’s Growing Pains. After a short career as an actress, Lee found her voice as a humorist, and has never looked back. Since 2011, she has been making a name for herself professionally as an honest, Laugh Out Loud (LOL) humor writer, dealing with daily life and relatable situations. Applauded for saying what most are thinking, Lee has the unique ability of finding wit in the way and amusement in the angle. Marcia Corbino of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune described Lee as “Erma Bombeck meets Sex and the City.”

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