Finding the Funny: How Humor Has Changed Me
Mallori DeSalle, MA, LMHC, CCMHC, NCC, MATS, CPS, Director of SBIRT Implementation and Motivational Interviewing Training, Applied Health Science, IU Bloomington
In 2017 I had a wake-up call; I experienced an unexpected health emergency while traveling for work. This scary experience gave me a moment to reflect on how I had ignored my body's messages to focus more on self-care and wellness.
I didn't see myself as someone that could follow the traditional meditation path, so I opted to study a different way of engaging my body in mindful presence. I took on the study of therapeutic humor. I joined the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (which fit well with my previous education and interests because I am a licensed therapist and a comedy fan) and enrolled in the Humor Academy.
Three years later, I am finishing my credential as a Certified Humor Professional. I've learned how to sprinkle humor into my daily life, and have developed a deck of cards ("Laffirmation Cards") to aid my daily humor/wellness practice. In fact, having the opportunity to hear from people about how Laffirmation Cards have been used around the world has been one of the best parts of my journey. I'm working on translating them into other languages, which is a cool outcome that I didn't expect.
How Humor Helps
Many people are curious, how could someone add humor into wellness? Would it mean walking around laughing all the time? Wearing face paint like a clown? Telling jokes like a comedian?
Actually the answer is both no and YES! Adding therapeutic humor into wellness is the act of shifting the way you look at the world (see the funny instead of needing to be funny). So, if that means you take up joke telling because that is how you invite humor into your world, GREAT! If instead, it means you read the comic strip in the morning paper (is that still a thing?), also GREAT!
For me, adding humor into my wellness practice means I open my heart and mind to moments of surprise, find the funny, and sprinkle joy in each opportunity I get.
It has changed how I look at when and why I work. My main work is in public speaking, training professionals, and supporting continuing education for people who are in helping professions. I now intentionally add humor/wellness and gratitude into my workshops. As a result, I am more conscious of being an active member in my work wellness. I also decide to honor my body/mind when work feels like too much, whereas before my journey began, I would have pushed through and exhausted myself.