Enrich Your Day

One of the exercises I invite my audiences  – as a guest speaker, but sometimes as a performance poet – and my clients to do is to smile from their toes. To get them out of their heads and back in touch with their bodies I remind them where they may be located – at the end of their legs, attached to their feet!

The next step in the exercise is to encourage, cajole, allow that smile to roll up from their toes through the rest of their bodies – pausing to really anchor the smile in their solar plexus – which is where most of us get stuck in our daily lives and carry our stress – and to finally allow it to emerge in their lips, not forgetting their eyes!    Here’s how a smile not only enriches your day but others by that famous writer Anon…

 A smile cost nothing but gives much.

It enriches those who receive, without making poorer those who give.

It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts for ever.

None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and none is so poor but that she can be made rich by it.

A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in business and is the countersign of friendship.

It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and it is nature’s best antidote for trouble.

Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away.

Some people are too tired to give you a smile.

Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as she who has no more to give.

#wellbeing #leadership #mentalhealth #motivation #employeeengagement #teambuilding #coaching

Laughter and Wellbeing

‘Laughter is the language of the soul!’ Pablo Neruda

I take my work as a comedy writer and performer seriously!  Many hours of effort go into the punch line of a poem or a gag.  It’s also possible to kill that one line with the wrong timing or emphasis when it’s being performed.  Sometimes I’m certain that what I’ve written must be funny as it makes me laugh: usually I’m right, but not always.  Other times I’m convinced that this ain’t funny at all – only to discover when I try it out that I’ve got my audience laughing away.   There is a particular pleasure – and relief – when you hear that sound.  Not least because it means that I’ve achieved what I set out to do, but also because I know of the health benefits that occur when we laugh.

When I was asked to write an article for The Association for Therapeutic Healers (www.healers-ath.org) about laughter and its benefits to wellbeing because I use fun and humour in my coaching work, as well as being a comedy writer and performer, I set off in search of what happens to our body-mind when we laugh. Fortunately, I had been introduced to the work of Patch Adams (www.patchadams.org), the international humanitarian and clown doctor, sometime before. His work with the sick and dying, particularly children is humbling.  I wrote to him, attended one of his clown doctoring workshops and he became both an inspiration and a mentor.  Watch the eponymous movie starring Robin Williams – a comic genius – if you want to see some of the ways in which he creates laughter and its effects on patients’ health.

There’s a fascinating catalogue of benefits to laughing and its effect on our mental and physical well being.  And you need to bear in mind that it’s contagious too!  Laughter reduces stress, eases muscle tension, increases the body’s T-Cell count, boosts mental function, increases pain tolerance and that’s just for starters!

Studies of antibody production have also shown that the stronger a person’s sense of humour, the more resistant that person’s immune system will be to the effects of stress.  While stress tends to impair immune functioning, subjects whose sense of humour was assessed on standardised psychological scales as being high were less affected by stress than those who scored low.  Humour, as Donna Eden (www.innersource.net) describes in her book Energy Medicine jump starts your strange flows – that’s your inner Mum!.

Here’s my prescription for when your inner grump is taking charge take some time to watch or listen to your favourite comedian, comedy show or read a funny poem. It’s important to remember that:  “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17.22).