Helen, writes: “I thought you might enjoy this healthy, healing positive mantra video I made this evening. Sit, feel, heal, face, replace – relax – be grateful and thankful- and generate happy cells!”
I am putting the link to this video on my desktop to keep it handy. What a great way to start the day.
What is the source of Helen’s prolific output?
I am sure there are many personal sources for her, as there are for any of us; she has shared some of hers with us.
But, there are two energy or motivational sources in particular, that I think those of us in the field have in common: I call them a Hippocratic inclination and intuitive logic.
We sensed that it would not be harmful if we could get others to try a few things like making the effort to look for the lighter side of situations, or infusing a workplace, classroom or sickroom with humor.
We sensed that it would not be harmful and that there was logic to the idea that positive outcomes were likely.
We were not drawn to working with humor and laughter because of being comedians, nor because we were overwhelmed with evidence. In the early days, there was little or no evidence. But several theories abounded. In fact, many of us got started because of a rather ephemeral affinity for laughter and humor.
Norman Cousins supposedly humored himself well from a painful and perhaps nearly fatal illness that had no known medical cure. He wrote about his experience. While single case studies are often where science begins, it is hardly considered solid evidence. Yet, it became foundational to a movement for applied and therapeutic humor and laughter.
My Grandmother’s Hippocratic Oath
My maternal grandmother emigrated to United States from Vienna, as a teenager, around 1900. She came with a kind of Hippocratic do-no-harm mentality. You could hear it in the kindly tone of voice she used when she recommended an enema for every ailment. In broken English, with a strong Austrian accent, she would persuasively note about her prescription, “It vouldn’t hurt!”
And, those of us drawn to work with humor and laughter had an intuitive logic about the topic. Without demanding hard-boiled scientific evidence, we somehow “knew” that laughter and humor are good for us. The Western world is fraught with deep cultural ambivalence towards humor: it loved, hated, and feared. Admonishments to grow up, get serious, quit fooling around, and dedicate ourselves to hard work, are probably rooted in Puritanical religious ethos.
But some of us “knew” that human beings need large doses of laughter and humor. And, we were willing to encourage others to try it.
In the courses I designed about applied and therapeutic humor & laughter, we have never claimed that what we encourage others to try will cure anything. But “try this” is an invitation to perform an personal experiment, to see what happens. Do you like the results, or shall we try something else?
You Become A Medical Experiment
My doctors, with all of their training, do exactly the same thing. They examine, diagnose and prescribe. With each prescription comes “Try this.” You become a science experiment with your own health and well-being. The doctor does not guarantee a cure. In fact, if the prescription does not work, you do not get your back. That is not the contract.
Following this logic, I created an ethical foundation for Certified Laughter Leaders conducting therapeutic laughter sessions, during which they encourage participants to try various practices. The “contract” is not the promise of a cure.
The contract is the promise to do one’s best, to be up to date on the evidence, to do no harm, and to continue to help search for whatever might have a positive effect on health and well-being.
We turned two energy sources –do-no-harm and intuitive logic– into action. And, now, in some important ways, the best scientific evidence is coming in, proving that we were right.
It has been my great joy for many years to be associated with thousands of colleagues who are similarly motivated: to keep the world from spinning totally out of control, to offer pathways to a little bit better balance, to happiness; to encourage others to make humor and laughter therapeutic allies.
* To learn more about Helen:
HA HA Helen Marie Szollosy, O.S.E. (Outlook Shift Engineer!)
Gold Member: A.A.T.H. (Assoc. for Applied & Therapeutic Humor)
Speaker, Singer, Certified Laughter Wellness Program Facilitator, WLT
Live Life! Laugh Often!
You Tube: HELENOFLAFOLOT]