Navigate your life with a sense of humor; It may be your saving grace!

Nothing is as important as a sense of humor when it comes to aging. Studies of centenarians have revealed that it’s one out of the three most vital coping mechanisms that healthy individuals possess: therefore, it’s crucial to living a long, happy life.

Unfortunately as we age we are often compromised by becoming more vulnerable physically and possibly mentally, or deeply saddened by the loss of loved ones. The good news is that aging seems to allow most individuals to live life with more acceptance. It’s as if the Serenity Prayer really kicks in and you finally realize you don’t have much control over anything. If you find yourself or a family member suffering from depression or anxiety their sense of humor will be one of the first things to go. Clinically depressed individuals have no ability to access their humor. Many of the anti-depressant today can help people who find themselves thrown into feelings of despair and isolation, however it’s equally as important to learn to access better thinking skills.

I have been through my own bouts of anxiety. I suffered from panic attacks as a young child and also as a young women. I believe it is somewhat genetic, having witnessed my mother and grandmother dealing with it.

My saving grace has been my ability to use humor as a coping mechanism to get through some of life’s most difficult situations. I was even able to make a comedy routine out of my panic attacks, once they were over. Is this a viable possibility for everyone? No, it isn’t! I believe my gene pool has had a lot to do with my ability to see the funny in a myriad of situations. I am thankful for this genetic gift since my life has been a roller coaster ride.

I never would have imagined having to go through divorce, single parenting, financial issues, taking care of an elderly mother and four implant surgeries. But life hands you lemons and you can either throw them out, make lemonade or find a way to find some humor inherent in the situations.

Yes, finding comic belief in difficult situations can be a lifesaver, but don’t wait for something difficult to happen before you get started. Even though you may come from serious parents or been told that getting older means you have to get more serious don’t take it to heart. Navigating life with a sense of absurdity, humor and a big dose of fun can help with the problems of aging and all its difficulties. You may not be able to laugh everyday, but you can certainly try. It costs nothing and is probably the best prescription available to make you feel better about life. Keep in mind “He/she who laughs last, laughs best”.

About lorettalaroche

An international stress management and humor consultant whose wit, and irreverent humor, has, for over 30 years raised the humor potential in all of us. She is on the Mass General advisory council for anxiety and depression and was recently awarded the National Humor Treasure Award. Loretta writes a weekly newspaper column called, ‘Get a Life’.

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