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Just the other day, my husband and I were walking in the marketplace when we met the doctor who had treated me when I was quite sick. I told him "Dr. you were absolutely right when you said I'd be up and walking in no time". The doctor looking pleased, said "Good, When did you start walking?". I said "Just after we got your bill. We had to sell our car to pay for it!!"

If I were asked to name the single most essential tool to good communication, almost unthinkingly, I would say "Humor". Laughter, they say is the best medicine. I am going to try and tell you why they say so.

Laughter and humor are powerful tools which help people to cope and get through threatening situations. A little humor helps to keep things in balance when life seems a bit unfair. Bill Cosby said, "If you can find humor in anything, you can survive it."

I recently met a friend who had just celebrated her fortieth birthday. She told me "I think I am getting old. The candles are beginning to cost more than my birthday cake!! I told her "Humor cant help you from getting older, but definitely, it can help you while getting old"

A lot of the suffering and troubles we experience are not a result of our difficulties, but how we view them. Humor can help us to cope with difficulties and ease our worries.

Laughing out loud can help us to maintain our perspective and have control over situations. If you ever feel you are losing control, allow yourself a little "humor time." If you can find what's funny in a situation, your upsets might not seem as important as they once did. It is said:

"When the tide of life turns against you, and the current upsets your boat;
Don't waste tears on what might have been, just lie on your back and float"

Humor can give you a sense of power. There are many things in life that we can't change because they are beyond our control. However a good sense of humor helps to reduce the hold that upsets have over us. We can see thing in a totally different perspective and realize that we are not as important as we think we are. Just remember the axiom, "No matter, how great your triumphs or how tragic your defeats approximately one billion Chinese couldn't care less!!" We haven't even begun including the rest of the world. So remember, no success or defeat is that important to overwhelm us!!

Humor helps to establish communication and rapport. Laughter crosses cultural boundaries. You don't have to speak the same language to laugh together. It helps to break the ice when you are in a group. It is one form of communication to which everyone can relate.

Talking of communication, once an American, a Britisher and an Indian were discussing about the technological advances in communication. In the middle of the discussion, there was a bleep. The Britisher put one hand to his ear, held up his tie and had a conversation. He later explained, " I have a small mike in my tie pin and a speaker in my ear". A few minutes later, there was another bleep. This time, the American just put a hand to his ear and had a conversation. He later explained, "I have a small mike under my tongue, and a small ear phone in my ear" A few minutes and Pepsis later, the Indian gave a rather loud belch. Just as his ears reddened, he said "Get me a paper, Quick, I think I am getting a fax!!"

Humor helps to relieve tension. It dispels anger and aggression in ourselves and others. I recently went to my tailor & wanted to have a dress stitched. When he told me it would take 2 weeks, I was exasperated and said, "Good man, It only took God six days to make this world" He immediately said, "And look at e state it is in!!". I could not help laughing, my anger was soothed and I was in a better mood to accept his timing!!

Humor can help to indicate a person's fears and worries. A person's jokes are often indirect clues to the things that are bothering him. Humor is necessary to prevent people from taking themselves too seriously. It is important to learn to laugh at yourself.

The other day, a friend of mine who realized she was getting shortsighted went to see a doctor. As soon as she entered the room, the doctor told her, "I think Mrs. Rina, you need to get spectacles". Amazed she said, "Doctor how did you know". The doctor replied, "Years of experience as an eye doctor plus the fact that you just walked in through the window!!

Sense of Humor need not be something you are born with. It can be acquired. The best spontaneous jokes, sometimes are the ones best rehearsed. The following can help to add more laughter to your life:

bulletRecognize the value of humor
bulletDon't worry or analyze why people laugh -- just participate.
bulletThink funny -- look for humor everywhere.
bulletKeep a notebook of funny things and write in it daily.
bulletAdapt material. Borrow jokes and personalize it by changing it to suit your situations or problems.

Laughter definitely makes you feel better about a situation. Recently, I met a friend of mine who loves horses and horse riding. We were talking about his horse and I asked "Is your horse well behaved?" He replied, "Oh! Yes, Whenever we come to a fence, he always stops and lets me go first!!

To conclude, laughter also helps learning and retention. People get the message quicker and remember it longer. So, please listen to me and remember it when I say "Take Jokes seriously!!"

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