Another semester is wrapped up! I’m officially on winter break for a beautiful six weeks. It’s such a great time to rest my brain, finally finish some house projects, and, heck, watch a TV series or two.
My Fall Semester 2018 Life Lesson is (drum roll): learning to laugh when I want to cry/scream/panic, etc. This life lesson actually started quite a few years ago, when I realized one day that I was having a major breakdown over spilt milk…well, a broken, raw egg I had accidentally dropped on the kitchen floor. I stopped in the middle of my flip-out and thought, whoa, why am I overreacting in this way?
Stress, anger, resentment, guilt are all heavy hitters that take a major toll on our health, especially when internalized long-term.
It’s literally bad for our health to harbor negative feelings (you’ve heard the saying “holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”?) So, I decided at that moment with the broken egg to STOP and SWITCH. I was going to STOP when I wanted to react with anger or tears, and SWITCH to something we can all use more of – laughter. I wanted to practice having a sense of humor instead of angst. To try to be the leaf floating down the surface of the river, instead of the stick stuck in the mud of the river bed, fighting the current to stay standing.
This semester challenged me, for sure, and I was constantly reminded of my “STOP/SWITCH” strategy of choosing how to feel or react to a situation. Instead of stressing out, I would take a deep breath and smile (even if forced), and try to muster a chuckle, just to change my internal chemistry.
There are few things we have control of in life, and maybe only two that we can genuinely say we fully control: the words we choose to use, and how we react to any situation.
It’s a pretty challenging practice, but I encourage you to just try it, a little each day. The next time you’re faced with what feels like an insurmountable situation, try pausing and taking a deep breath. Then work up some laughs. Try smiling, even if it feels weird at first. Start reprogramming your brain to see comedy in the drama. Your health and happiness depend on it. And it’s a much more fun way to approach life!