Remember “Deep Thoughts” with Jack Handey on Saturday Night Live years ago? This was one of them:
“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.”
In a time when truly deep thoughts abound—What’s happening in the world? Do I have Covid? Will my children be okay if they can’t go back to school?—it’s important to remember that a sense of humor is a beautiful coping strategy. Having, and sharing, some shallow thoughts doesn’t mean we’re disrespecting the legitimate difficulty of life. It means we’re human, acknowledging that jokes are ways to take a moment and acknowledge that we still need to laugh sometimes under any circumstances. Laughter, in fact, may be somewhat like exercise in this regard: when things are at their most difficult, that’s often when we need it the most.
And seriously–a sense of humor plays a critical role in health. Besides lots of research showing that laughter reduces stress, burns calories and even works abdominal muscles, the deepest truth is that defusing a tense conversation with a joke or watching a little comedy right after you’ve been worrying about what’s going to happen when you can’t work remotely anymore aren’t just ways to “lighten things up.” These are tricks that keep us sane, help us avoid debilitating depression, and re-route our brain out of negativity.
So think deep thoughts, but let the shallower ones in, too. As we walk all the miles of our life, no matter whose shoes we wear, a little laughter can keep us going, even over hard road.
by Bridget Hardy: Fitness Specialist and Wellness Coach