Couples Who Laugh, Last

August 28, 2012

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but research suggests that, actually, laughter is the glue that really keeps couples together. With clear correlation between laughter and sexual relations, as well humour being stated as one of the top three reasons for the success of long term marriages (according to a 1990 study carried out by Lauer) it seems that laughter really is the best medicine for individuals and couples alike.

We all know that laughing is good for us whether we’re single, married or divorced. Experts at Psychology Today suggest that the act of laughing can increase the production of feel-good endorphins, reduce stress, ease pain and even increase blood flow around the body which in turn makes the blood vessels, brain and heart healthier. Who would have thought that laughing can be good for both the head and the heart?! But how can the act of laughing benefit you and your partner as a couple? Here are some ways in which good humour can improve your relationship and help it to stand the test of time:

Diffuses tension

When a conflict arises in a relationship it can often be minimised by gentle and respectful humour. Minor niggles can be dealt with by a light hearted remark or playful suggestion rather than serious confrontation as people can become much more defensive when they feel as though they are being attacked. Sometimes it can be difficult to resort to laughter in the midst of a serious argument or disagreement, but ultimately couples find that embracing humour helps interrupt the power struggle, ease tensions and enable them to gain perspective and talk their disagreement through in a calmer, more rational way. Humour may not be the way to completely solve your problems but it can definitely set the scene for discussing them in a more productive manner.

‘In-jokes’ strengthen bond

Psychologists suggest that being part of an ‘in group’ is something we all subconsciously strive for to give ourselves a feeling of ‘belonging’. Having an ‘in joke’ with your partner is much the same. It enables you to share a private sentiment that only the two of you belong to and fully understand. This can ultimately strengthen your bond in private and even more so in company. You identify as being part of a pair with something in common. If this is a playful, positive or humorous gesture then it further reinforces the element of fun in the relationship.

Fun activities

Amidst the stresses and strains of everyday life it can sometimes be difficult to find anything to laugh about. This is why couples should try and incorporate fun, laughable activities into their relationship. Try something new even if it is totally out of your comfort zone. If you approach it with good humour and your partner at your side, if can’t go wrong. Even if it is an activity that you don’t enjoy and will never do again, you’ll still have had a positive experience from it trying it with a willing and playful attitude. And if you and your partner can find a common interest then it will give you something else to bond together in. Try and set aside at least a few hours a week where you and your partner can do something fun as a couple and include a bit of old fashioned laughter.

Keeping positive in troubled times

Life isn’t always a bed of roses and there will invariably be times in your relationship when you hit trouble. Perhaps it will be financial difficulty, family problems or even issues with the relationship. During these tough times you may not feel able to use humour as a mode of thought, of but research suggests that looking upon your problems in a positive, light-hearted way can actually provide you with the mental tools you need to overcome them. Laughter is medically proven to ease stress and anxiety to give you the ability to think clearly and rationally. Similarly, looking at things in a humorous light can give you different sense of perspective rather than becoming overwhelmed by your problems. If both you and your partner adopt this attitude in the face of trouble then there’s no reason why you can’t overcome the most difficult obstacles together.

When humour shouldn’t be used – to cover up negative feelings and issues

Whilst laughter and humour are mostly positive aspects of a relationship, there are times when people use humour as a tool to cover up real issues and painful emotions in their relationship. Perhaps they don’t feel able to articulate their emotions in a serious way and so resort to basic humour to try and get their point across. Ask yourself if you’re making jokes in a humorous way of if they’re actually indirect expressions of anger or irritation.
In the big picture one truth remains: life is too short not to laugh more, life is too long not to laugh more. For a complimentary guide to laughing more please visit http://peterdavison.ca/laughmore.html


Red Nose Angel

October 13, 2009

Maybe some things are meant to be. I arrived at the Victoria airport really early for my flight to Calgary. When I checked in, I was offered the last seat on the next flight departing in 30 minutes. It was a regional jet, the kind with two narrow seats on either side of the aisle. My 6’3’’ self hunched over as I entered the plane and snuggled into the row one window seat facing the bulkhead beside a little old lady who commented on my obvious cramped leg room. The lone flight attendant on the flight tossed her coat across the two remaining seats across from us as if staking a gold claim.

It was the little lady who suggested that I ask about switching to the empty aisle seat across from us. I waited until the flight attendant started pushing her cart down the aisle and inquired as to whether she minded if I switch my seat to allow for the better legroom.

There was a cold silence and then she responded curtly, “I was going to sit there.” After another icy pause she said, “Oh, go ahead.” It was clear that either today was not her day or she slept through her customer service 101 training.

I moved her airline issued jacket over to the window seat and sat down to enjoy sticking my feet up the aisle. When her cart service concluded she plunked down beside me to do her books. She made a terse comment about having little time to get her paperwork done on short flights. After a time she hunched over and twisted her gaze out the window while slowly rubbing her forehead and back of neck.

“Do you want something to take away your headache?” I offered thinking of a special cure I had in my bag.
”No,” she replied, “It will go away on it’s own.” She shared that this was her 5th flight today and got up to tidy the galley.

Even though she was unresponsive to my offer to help I kept having a nagging intuition to do the right thing. I knew that in my bag and I had a distress headache cure. I just finished sharing 200 of them with hard working managers in high demand responsibility roles at a conference in Victoria. The preventative cure for her stress, as it was for the managers at the conference, was the healing power of humor.

When she sat with me the next time I held out a red foam clown nose and said, “This will help with your headache.”

“Are you kidding?”

“Yes I am kidding and I am joking, that’s the point,” I asserted, “laughter creates endorphins and flushes the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol makes your headache.”

“I can’t wear this. I have to look responsible.”

“Sure you can,” I insisted and held up my book to block any potential embarrassing passenger glances and she hunched over and put in the nose.

“Whoa, my head feels better already”, she observed after less than a minute. She chucked when I suggested she should do the next cart run with the nose on.

She introduced herself and we had a light hearted chat. She apologized for being out of sorts and she shared that the nose meant a lot to her because she had beaten nose cancer twice. Then she paused and said, “When you get off the plane are you going to disappear?” I must have look puzzled. She continued, “Like are you an angel that comes to earth to help troubled souls then when the job is done you go back up to rejuvenate until the next time.” She looked me in the eye and said, “Thank you. You were meant to be on my flight.”

I explained to her that actually I wasn’t meant to be on her flight and shared about the last minute change. But maybe things are meant to be especially if we listen to that still small voice of intuition that calls us to do the right thing.

When the plane landed we said thanks to each other. As I left I gave her my success quote card and she handed me her pen. At first I thought she felt obliged to reciprocate my gift gesture and that was all she had. It wasn’t until after read the inscription that it was clear that some things are just meant to be.

On her pen was a line from Psalm 91, “For he will command his angels concerning you.”


Brain Wonder

September 15, 2008

I thgouht Id sned out soemtinhg a litlte unasuual tihs tmie to inwenaerlth eamil suscbirbres. I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt!. (But I sllit lvoe my sellpechcker)

and we still don’t know how it works

How mcu we undersetamate teh power of teh mind to make meaning of seemingly simple shapes on a computer screen. The conversation between mind, body and spirit starts with thought. After one first thought created all this. The work that we do at innerwealth is all based on metaphysics. Metaphysics is art and science of being conscious of the meta or underlying meaning of an experience. Reality is perception. We make up our experience based on 10% what actually happens (fact) and 90% of how we interpret and judge it through our own filters. The human mind is built to make meaning out of everything, even the scrambled letters on a page. What meaning we make is up to us. That’s why it may be useful to remember that your brain believes what you tell it so what you think about you bring about.


Child Like Mind

September 15, 2008

I remember playing Pokemon cards with my nephew Malcolm when he was age 10. The characters in the Pokemon series are all founded on the idea of evolution. Pichu evolves to Pikachew, etc. I thank the masterful minds that tapped a deep desire of the childlike mind to grow, change and becoming greater, stronger, faster. This is part of a child’s drive, to be closer to nature and natural functions.

I remember my years training professionals on how to deal with child abuse. We took the children’s stories of entrapment, helplessness, powerlessness very seriously. While defense lawyers offer the counter challenge that a child makes that up, it is really beyond the natural fantasy lives of children. Children naturally have active imaginations for being superheroes, saving people, leaping tall buildings etc. This is aligned with our true nature’s desire for us to grow.

Innerwealth is about touching the child like mind and heart in every person, about caressing awake a place long since forgotten. It is a place of innocence and possibility of play and every present moments of life, marbles, bike rides, frogs and string. Returning to a child like mind.

So what is the child like mind?

– simple direct thoughts
– Innocence and curiosity
– natural urge to grow up and evolve
– need to belong feel capable and be recognized
– play, fun and spontaneity
– listening and trusting the still small voice
– desire for connection
– fairness and sharing/scarcity & competition
– camaraderie/ selfishness
– appreciative take it all for granted

Something to aspire to. If it helps, go for a walk on grass in bare feet and give a little
skip or a hop as you go. Or better still, tender your resignation as an adult. You can use this template if you wish. Writing it in crayon or colored marker has the most impact.

>>>>>>>

Resignation

I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 10 year old again.

I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it’s a four star restaurant. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make a sidewalk with rocks. I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them. I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer’s day. I want to return to a time when life was simple; When all you knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. All you knew was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset.

I want to think the world is fair. That everyone is honest and good. I want to believe that anything is possible. I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again. I want to live simple again. I don’t want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness, and loss of loved ones. I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind, and making angels in the snow. So . . . here’s my checkbook and my car-keys, my credit card bills and my tax statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood. And if you want to discuss this further, you’ll have to catch me first, cause………..”Tag! You’re it.”


Creative Procrastination

September 15, 2008

It’s mid July and if I didn’t receive an “out of office / on vacation” auto reply then in my imagination I picture you sitting at your desk with half the staff missing around you and maybe (but unlikely) half the workload in your inbox.

If I am even close, then maybe you are ripe and ready for todays instructions on how to creatively procrastinate.

I am inspired to share a cool word art tool that I discovered while taking a “stretch break” from a crafting a leadership article that I’m writing for clients in Ireland. (It’s a week overdue)

So if you have anywhere from 5 minutes to say… 8 hours then just click on my website link below taking you to my homepage. Next click on my newly created word art masterpiece and the link will take you to timeless fun for not just procrastinating but creatively procrastinating!

You can drop in any text so gather up a shopping list, poem, your favorite paragraph from the strategic plan or the company mission statement and see what you come up.

You can save it, print it or copy the code and send it to me or a friend. Enjoy!

Not Mere Procrastination but Rather Creative Procrastination!
Click Here to See Peter’s Wordle and Make Your Own


Busker Pete

September 12, 2008

It is busker week in Halifax, thousands descend on this port city and stroll the waterfront to enjoy dozens of street performers who make their living by wowing audiences and inspiring donations.

Buskers have become more sophisticated over the years with sound systems and bleachers and lighting for better night time viewing. They also have figured out a good way to get volunteers from the audience to join them on stage. They ask family members to volunteer each other. No sooner had my 12 year old nephew put up my hand then I found myself skipping around in front of 700 people and standing with 5 other mates who had also been “volunteered” by eager and delighted family members.

The late great artist Andy Warhol once predicted that everyone will have 15 minutes of fame in their lifetime. I guess my moment of glory was to join the troupe in the Daredevil Chicken show. We were brought up to center stage, dressed in pink tutus and were then put through our clumsy warm up routine in preparation for the buskers grand finale. Our moment in the sun was to hold the rope supporting the tight rope where the busker does his grand finale by balancing on one foot 6 feet in the air while juggling two knives and, of course, a rubber chicken.

It was a foolish and skilled finale. What delight these buskers bring to the faces of adults and children alike. They have a definite talent for being crazy and fun loving. How wonderful we live in a society where people have the freedom and imagination to express their talents on our city streets and otherwise. While I don’t profess to be the best tutu wearing rope holder in the world, the experience did give me pause to think about the whole idea of everyone’s unique gift to the world.

It’s all good that we encourage children to develop music or sports interests or other gifts that reflect their personality. But I wonder how much we spend celebrating our talents as adults. I invite you to take a minute right now to think about your unique talent, gift or offering. What would you love to or are you now sharing with the world to make it a better place? What talent of yours makes you unique? How is it known to others, how do you share? The next time you express your talent make sure to give yourself a pat on the back or drop a coin in your own hat as a small way to give yourself thanks for being you


All Right Baby!

September 12, 2008

How often do you get asked that question in the run of a day? How often do you look like you invite that question to be asked? And if that is not the first question on people’s minds when you meet, then what exactly are they thinking?

So what are you smiling about? There are enough answers as there grains of sand on a beach. Perhaps it’s sharing the joy of a little child discovering something new, or the antics of a puppy or kitten. Perhaps a great ice cream on a hot day gives you a satisfied grin or maybe it’s an out right laugh that curls your mouth up as you hear about yet another antic from a good friend. Maybe it’s a simple inner grin like when you fill up the gas tank the day before prices double. This is the stuff that makes life interesting, or for some, makes it bearable.

What about the smile factor at work? How often do you smile while you exchange your time for money? On average, do you serve the world with joy or, as Kahil Gibran put it, “Do we bake a bitter bread that feeds but half our hunger.”

I make my home in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Several years ago we were hit with a class 3 hurricane. Trees uprooted, boats either sunk or were washed ashore, fortunately only 2 souls lost their lives and the electricity was blacked out in some places for several weeks.

When I received a call from Nova Scotia Power 3 weeks later I took the opportunity to express my gratitude to their line crews for 16 hour days restoring power. The customer service representative said she would pass on my gratitude, but suggested that I might not thank then tomorrow because they have to turn off my power. It seems there was a wobbly tree down the street and that was a safety precaution for those cutting it down.

First thing the next morning the white boom truck pulls up in front of my house. I watch as the lift bucket operator climbs on board and pulls on long rubber insulated gloves while his colleague on the ground safely cordons off the area with pylons. As the bucket operator pulls the huge circuit breaker there is a very audible “phizzt” arcing sound as thousands of volts are shut down. At the same moment the ground safety guy pumps his fist in the air and yells out, “ALL RIGHT BABY!”

You can imagine the smile on his face. I was amazed that after 3 weeks of working heavy overtime that he still gets excited when the power gets switched. He clearly loves what he does. I wondered what it takes to love work with such passion because it’s not everyone’s experience.

The statistics are revealing. According to Fast Company magazine the workforce can be divided into thirds with relation to their love, or not, or work. One third of those surveyed indicated that they hate their job, another third liked or disliked depending on the day, the week or the hour leaving only a third to claim that they consistently love what they do.

We need to reclaim the workplace as a human place, a place where human beings seek connection, fulfillment and meaning. While it may be easier to blame external factors for our discontent, I think most people underestimate the two things that are very much within our control; 1. leaking energy and 2. lack of purpose.

We are in control of our energy because we have the power to choose how we think. The thoughts we choose determine our attitudes and generate neuropeptides, the chemistry that is released in thought, that either deadens us or awakens us. We know attitude is contagious so let’s make ours worth catching by seeing the best in others and circumstances.

The easiest way to connect with purpose is to continually ask the question, “How does this benefit those we serve?” If you can link a higher result to even the most mundane task, initiative or decision then you have found a way to be grateful. Gratitude is the highest vibration of the human heart and its symptoms frequently show up as a grin.

What’s most important is for each of us to take charge and do whatever it takes to maintain energy and find peace and contentment with your work. The invitation is clear, find a way to have more energy at the end of the day or the end of the week then when you started. Why? There is one reason above others – so you can have more energy left over to take home to your family.

Mother Theresa said it well when she won the Nobel Prize for peace. When asked what can we do to promote world peace she replied simply, “Go home and love your family”

At the end of the day, when all is said and done and projects are complete, client crisis averted, customers satisfied, I invite you to do whatever it takes to focus your energy and love your work.

So when you go home and your kids come up to greet you, I hope they look you in the eye and see a twinkle that makes them ask, “Hey mom/dad, what are you smiling about?”

Whatever your version of “All right baby!” is up to you. The most important thing is that you witness the truth that you are a person who loves who they are and what they do. Surely there is no better person to ask the question or a person they respect more to answer it.