Wellness benefits of humor

Joe Biden: Behind the Scenes

As we get older, we are all going to have events in our lives that truly test us as human beings. While both my wife Trisha and I try our best to stay positive, losing loved ones and dealing with illness and injuries certainly presents some serious challenges. In just the last month, I’ve had surgery, my best friend passed away, and recently my wife found out she will have to have some surgery in the next couple of weeks.

None of these events are uncommon for seniors, but when they happen to you, they become the most important things in the world.  So, how do we maintain our sanity during such troubling times? Fortunately for me, I recently witnessed the State of the Union address by President Obama. It was  incredibly boring as most of them are, but it was our indomitable Vice President Joe Biden that provided some much-needed humor.

I may have taken some liberties with my interpretation of events, but it’s all in good fun. Here’s behind the scenes with good ‘ol Joe.

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“there is a time to weep, and a time to laugh . . .”

This is my favorite painting. If you don’t share my faith, no problem. One’s faith is a personal decision and I respect everyone’s beliefs (unless you go around blowing people up). The point is, it makes me smile and that in turn makes me feel good. I’m aware some people contend we should only spend our lives doing solemn works and in quiet reflection. Good for you. I personally take that “a time to laugh” verse just as seriously.

Several things put me in a reflective mood about humor and laughter this week. One of the things was when my shy and soft-spoken mother walked in and sat down in a room filled with many of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She seemed to be musing about something so I asked her what she was thinking. She said, “You know, so many of my friends and family are already in heaven, I’ll bet they think I didn’t make it.” It was a very serious and sweet comment. And very, very funny.

I also have a wonderful cadre of friends who send me humorous email forwards. Truth is I’m not big on sending forwards to folks, but my friends are very selective and the stuff they send is most often hilarious. Much of it this last week was laugh out loud funny. I really enjoyed their selections.

Additionally, this week my wife Trisha and I were invited to speak at a luncheon about retired-life issues. I spent much of my time discussing the wellness benefits of humor. Preparing for our presentation forced me to brush up on my humor research. Once again, I found the information very valuable. Here are some of the wellness benefits of humor I shared with our audience.


– relaxes muscles

– reduces harmful stress hormones

– lowers blood pressure

– lowers serum cortisol levels

– speeds oxygen to the blood

– increases blood circulation

– triggers release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain killers)

– helps in weight reduction

– boosts the immune system

– provides a feeling of overall well-being 

I guess the axiom “laughter is the best medicine” really is  true. The fact is, we live in a very complex, demanding, and potentially stressful world. As we grow older, maintaining a positive attitude and managing our stress becomes very important for maintaining our mental and physical health. Looking for the humor in our lives at a time when we face very real and serious wellness issues will help to maintain an important balance.

Don’t worry, be happy.

Stay healthy, keep on laughing.

Best, John         www.TheBestofOurLives.com