Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Powered By Laughter


The other day I had one of the first busy days I’ve had since my surgery. Three months ago, I used to breeze through these kinds of days. But after months of lazy recuperation, I found myself stressed over all I had to do that day, and added to that was the stress as I looked around and realized how far behind in household chores I’d gotten because I hadn’t had the strength to keep up with everything. Thoughts like “I’m never going to get all this done. No matter how hard I try, I can’t do all this. I’m so behind all ready. Things have piled up until it’s impossible. I’m going to end up in the hospital again.” At the hospital thought, I realized what I was doing. It wasn’t the tasks that were causing me pain, it was my thoughts about the tasks. I had to get rid of the thoughts.

So I went back over every thought I’d had and exaggerated it. I purposely made myself see it in my head as absurd. I played each new thought out like a movie. I saw myself frantically running from one task to the next like a chicken with its head cut off—and I mean that literally, my head was cut off so that I bumped into things I should have seen and toppled over things in my way. I saw myself sinking in the clutter of my office like a hunter sinking in quick sand. Inch by inch I slowly disappeared until all that could be seen of me was my index finger wagging frantically for help. I saw myself being rushed to the hospital in a florescent orange ambulance, me in a full body cast, and when we arrived the ambulance driver announced to the doctor (who looked a lot like Jack Black in a mustache and beard) that he had to restrain me because I was battling self-inflicted -clutter-traumatization.

I don’t have to tell you that by that time I was laughing so hard I couldn’t be upset. With the negative emotions out of the way, I tackled the tasks at hand with no pain. Humor is a powerful tool. It works especially well when we are stressing over something bad we think is going to happen. Just exaggerate the dire consequences until they become absurd. Give the image as much ridiculous detail as possible. Laugh at the “movie” you’ve created until the negative feelings are dispelled. Then, on the wings of that laughter, do what needs to be done. Laughter empowers every time!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Honestly Sherrie, everything you do could be a hit movie! Everything you say is absolutley true, but the images you leave in our minds to make your point are hysterical, and make me laugh right out loud. I'm so glad you are getting stronger and doing better because it does take time. However, your remedies and explanations for how to do it are priceless. All I can say is "The Oscar for the best comdey writer in a life drama goes to our beloved Sherrie"
Cathie Totten :)

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Cathie, I accept the award on one condition--I don't have to eat it. Life is wonderful when you learn how to laugh at it! Thanks for the award, dear friend!

Wendi said...

I second that award! This was a fun post. And I love the new bolder color scheme with the fonts on your blog. :)

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Wendi, Thank you. I'm glad you noticed the new font. How did your talk go?

Wendi said...

Thanks for asking. It went well. The Spirit was there and I felt calm as I spoke. Several people said that it inspired them to new ways they could do missionary work. So, the Spirit did His job that day for sure! And I was very thankful! :)

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Wendi, Good job! It sounds like you weren't stressed by it at all! Way to go.

cbracken said...

How delightful! I've always wanted to improve my sense of humor - this 'movie' suggestion sounds like a fabulous tool!! Thank you!