March 21, 2010

Make Yourself a Laugh List - Before You Need One

I found a mug during one of my sweeps through my local Ross (the discount store) that has the message "My attitude is entirely my decision."  I need to be reminded of this truth, so I bought the mug and here it is this morning, on my desk, holding my hazelnut coffee. 

You see, Dear Reader, being happy and positive, productive and at peace doesn't come naturally to me.  I have to fight against being worried, fearful, sad, mad, ... all those negative emotions that can stop progress come and hound me much more often than I'd like.  (I'm assuming you may know what I mean here.)

Today, I want to share with you one of the tools in my toolbelt that I use to keep my attitude in check.  It's laughter. 

I've found that all the bad stuff stops me from laughing, and if I start laughing, with even a mild giggle, then those bad feelings evaporate away.  Poof!  And I'm free to enjoy the rest of my day.  Getting stuff done -- instead of spending wasted energy on bad emotions/bad attitudes.  Casting my cares. 

Of course, this is a matter of self-control here.  Remember the mug's message:  my attitude is my decision.  I don't want to take myself too seriously, and I'm quite adept at making mountains out of molehills if left unchecked.  In fact, I can get so wrapped up in building my anger, or sadness, or worry, etc., that I need simple, easy tools to break myself out of the obsession, hence - the Laugh List.  One of my big helpers.

How to Build a Laugh List.

Modern technology is very helpful here.  You can save video and audio as well as the printed word, and you can carry these along with you, wherever you go.  So, don't limit yourself to just one medium.

Now, what to include?  Anything that makes you smile.  Something that makes you giggle or laugh out loud is a must.  It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, either.  If Roger Ebert hated the movie, but it brings tears to your eyes, who the heck cares about what Ebert thinks? 

Entertainment products (which is what TV shows and movies are, of course) are great sources for your laugh list.  However, some of your greatest sources of laughter for your Laugh List may be found in your personal stuff.  Those photos where the kids washed themselves more than the cars at the car wash.  The audio message from the grandkids, wishing you a happy day.  The hubby's big goofy smile at his surprise party.  Those things that make you smile -- they go into the Laugh List file. 

Each list will be different.  Not all of the list items will be the same on the Laughter Scale.  A photo of your son may make you smile, while a Letterman Top Ten List may make you laugh out loud, you need a range here -- and your Laugh List needs to build over time.  You can't make this thing too big.

Me?  Among my laugh list items are: 

(1) a photo of my beloved P in the middle of Canyon Lake right after he fell in (backwards), standing tall and dripping profusely and with wet cigar and whopperjawed glasses, serenading me with "Onward Christian Soldiers," (see? it's personal, a you gotta be there sorta thing). 

(2) a card from one of my kiddos from my CPS abuse/neglect docket days, with its personal message in crayon.  Red and blue and purple and green.  Carefully done. 

(3) "I Love Lucy" reruns.

(4) PG Wodehouse -- especially everything Jeeves and Wooster.  I love the language that he uses, and this stuff never gets old for me.  I listen to this on audiobook, and it's guaranteed to make me laugh out loud regardless how many times I've heard the material.

(5) Janet Evonovich's Stephanie Plum series.  Again, never gets old.  I laugh at Lula.  I laugh at Stephanie.  I know the car is going to be destroyed, and still.  I laugh. 

Of  course, there's lots more to my Laugh List.  Mine may make no sense to you.  You may have Will Ferrell movies, or reruns of The Office.  The Three Stooges (which I still don't get). 

No two Laugh Lists should be alike, but they should all do the same thing:  give us a chuckle, and with it, the power to move forward no matter how dark the valley may be.

God bless you, Dear Reader!
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