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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nurture Your Inner Giggle

19 Tamuz 5768

Today, someone asked me how I cope with stress and continue smiling. Here's one technique that I shared with her (you can sort of listen in on the conversation as I relay it below):

"I believe that each of us has an Inner Giggle and it needs nurturing.

"Crises tend to cancel out our sense of joy and hope. But the fact that we yearn to be happier than we are is the best signal that our senses of joy and hope remain alive. Battered, but alive. So, I recommend doing what it takes to puff more life back into those parts of our brains and hearts. I've learned that when we can master our emotions, we can place a problem into manageable perspective, and cope with one aspect of the problem at a time. It can be a medical crisis, an emotional issue, or something else that really whomped your sense of well-being.

"To give you an example of what I mean, listen to how I helped a friend of mine going through the train system with me. She'd misfed her tickets in the turnstile that lets passengers board the train. She had no way to join me as I began boarding! Cursing herself into a frenzy, she noticed that I stepped out of the car and bought 2 ice creams at the vending machine just beyond her reach. As the ticket agent resolved the problem with a credit card, I welcomed my friend 'to the other side of the tracks,' handed her an ice cream and ordered her to start licking hers so she could nourish her 'Inner Giggle.'

"HUH?" She asked. "My inner what?"

I smiled over my ice cream cone and replied, "Your Inner Giggle. Times get rough. Even a lowly turnstile can attack and eat up your travel tickets. But hey, you need to chill out. Let the ice cream feed your sense of happiness so you can get your giggle back."

My friend grinned and bit into her ice cream. In minutes she was laughing, grateful for the break from being angry at herself and able to reassess the situation in a far more user-friendly way.

Trust me, I didn't want to travel with a friend cursing herself for the next few hours. I did what I could to humorize the situation and she followed my lead. We laughed at the problem, not at her. That's a critically important point.

Feeding your Inner Giggle. You can do so much to restore a sense of control in your life. Healthy laughter minimizes the destructiveness of a given problem. It also releases tension, giving it a safe way to leave your system.

Stuck in bed and feeling helpless, bored, angry, filled with physical and emotional pain? Fill in the blank as you wish. But realize that you CAN do something to help yourself cheer up.

Listen to music you enjoy by asking someone to set up the radio, CD player or other device for you. Select your music. Go on, you KNOW what you like!

Decorate your surroundings despite limitations on your present abilities. Consider arranging some pictures or flowers nearby, or spray-painting pine cones with a bit of assistance and an open window. Look at some mementoes you enjoy. You get the idea. Do something you want to do.

Ask someone to share jokes with you.

DO NOT poke fun at or ridicule yourself. That's not user-friendly. Ethnic and off-color jokes hurt. Keep the humor wholesome.

Feed your inner giggle with nourishing thoughts and actions. Let yourself laugh despite the pain as you learn to retake control of your emotions.

We can't control our medical situations, only how we respond to them. My book holds laugh-out-loud anecdotes from famous people about how they coped with stress. Buy your copy today, and share their ideas with them!

Let me know what works for you when you leave a comment into the Comment Boxes on this blog.

To your good health,

Yojeved Golani
Coping with a Medical Crisis?
Make the Changes You Need in Your Life.

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