So, in this blog post, I am going to approach things a bit unconventionally.
I am NOT going to talk about financial planning or about investment management even though these are great things to think about as the new year begins and you set some new goals! Financial Planning can change everything!
I have NO INTENTION to talk to you about financial New Year’s resolutions, saving for a rainy day fund, paying yourself first or paying down debt. However, these are amazing concepts to embrace for 2022!
And I assure you, I have no plans to stress how imperative tracking your monthly expenses is NOW so the transition into retirement does not require you to disrupt the lifestyle you have become accustomed to and love.
No, I have a different focus for this newsletter. (I do hope, however, I have captured a bit of your attention on the financial planning side of things before I launch into this.)
My message this time around is going to be focused on two concepts. HUMOR and FUN, concepts many of us have neglected and stopped pursuing since the pandemic invaded our world.
Those of you who know me understand that I have a fun side that likes to laugh and be silly. At the same time, I am extremely compassionate and empathetic – sometimes to a fault. I love to love.
I take my responsibility as a financial advisor extremely seriously, but life can be pretty intense at times, and there are moments we need to remind ourselves to not take ourselves too seriously and to DREAM, BREATHE and LAUGH!
I dedicate this newsletter to my mom and my sister, who in tandem are the perfect combination of fun and faithful and are two - of a very small population of individuals - who can make me laugh until I cry. And to my beloved Grandmother Dorcas (Yep. Look it up. Her name is a character in the Old Testament!) a woman who never shied away from an opportunity to brighten someone’s day or make someone laugh, no matter the situation or outcome. Oh, I have stories.
And finally, in homage to Betty White, which truth be told, was the impetus for this newsletter. Betty White and a couple other legends from my era, Carol Burnette and Erma Bombeck.
These women were and still are my comedic heroines I grew up with, admired and respected. Women who had the talent to translate daily routines and life events into hilarious skits that everyone in America could relate to. Here are some thoughts I find to be true about the physical benefits of humor and laughter. As well as a few funnies from my favorites. I hope these make you take a moment and smile, giggle a little or maybe even LAUGH OUT LOUD. Enjoy!
Health Benefits of HUMOR:
Humor draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress.
Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner.
As children, we used to laugh hundreds of times a day, but as adults, life tends to be more serious and laughter more infrequent.
Laughter is strong medicine
Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Laughter burns calories. Okay, so it’s no replacement for going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn approximately 40 calories—which could be enough to lose three or four pounds over the course of a year.
Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load. Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations without holding onto bitterness or resentment.
Laughter may even help you to live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don’t laugh as much. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer.
As promised, here are a few of my favorites.
“Kindness and consideration of somebody besides yourself keeps you feeling young.”
“Everybody needs a passion. That’s what keeps life interesting. If you live without passion, you can go through life without leaving any footprints.”
“It’s your outlook on life that counts. If you don’t take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find humor in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a lifesaver.”
“People have told me ‘Betty, Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with old friends.’ At my age, if I wanted to keep in touch with old friends, I’d need an Ouija board.”
“I just make it my business to get along with people so I can have fun. It’s that simple.”
“No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there is wrinkle in the bedspread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick.”
“People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same. Look for something you'll feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow.”
On vacations: “We hit the sunny beaches where we occupy ourselves keeping the sun off our skin, the saltwater off our bodies, and the sand out of our belongings.”
“Funny is funny. I dare anyone to look at Tim Conway and Harvey Korman doing the dentist sketch, which is more than 40 years old, and not be doubled over with laughter.”
“Everybody I know who is funny, it's in them. You can teach timing, or some people are able to tell a joke, though I don't like to tell jokes. But I think you have to be born with a sense of humor and a sense of timing.”
So as I close I will share a story. I recently had an annual review with a long time client. She shared with me the bombshell that she had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Not the kind with tremors that you see with Michael J Fox, but the kind that starts robbing you of your memory and basic brain function.
During our time together she inspired me, lifted my spirits and had me giggling. Her attitude is not only amazingly positive, but contagious. I asked her what her secret was. She said, “It’s no secret. Just be happy, love others and laugh.” WOW.
So I challenge YOU now. Take time out of each day to laugh. Watch a TV show, a movie or read a book. Spend a lunch hour or an evening with someone in your life who lifts your spirits; someone who fills you up; someone that makes you laugh, hopefully until you cry.
If you have never seen the movie ‘The Bucket List’ with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson I would recommend it. Laughing until you cry should not be on your ‘Bucket List’. It should be something you strive for every day. And that is no joke.