Humor has many benefits–it can bring you closer to another person, ease the tension in a room and help you deal with difficult circumstances, like becoming paralyzed. Such is the tale in Sally Franz’s Scrambled Leggs: A Snarky Tale of Hospital Hooey, a book about laughter, pain, and everything in between.
In the eBook, Sally tells of her experience of dealing with Transverse Myelitis, an auto-immune disease that left her paralyzed from the waist down. But the book isn’t just about that story, it’s also a memoir of events that shaped who Sally is, a how-to guide on dealing with difficult situations, and of course a humorous read. Sally holds nothing back, sharing her highs and lows, doubts and concerns, and opinions on everything ranging from faith to politics. And while I don’t agree with all of her views, I do agree with on this: one of the best way’s to survive this thing called life is to “Use humor, sarcasm and be generous with smiles.”
With that in mind, here are 7 Humor Lessons from Scrambled Leggs:
1. Humor can be simple.
“I made a list of very simple things I love (fresh linen, flowers, birds, cheesecake, prisms). I choose to have ONE of these items (at least) in my life every day.” (page 16)
Some people feel like incorporating humor into their lives means that they have to become a stand-up comedian, and while that’s one way to do it, there are much easier ways to add a little levity. Just creating a list of simple things you love like Sally did, and experiencing at least one per day, can go a long way in reducing stress and improving your attitude.
2. You have to take time to play.
“Why not have a playdate with yourself?” (page 46)
When we were kids, our only responsibility seemed to be to have fun. But as adults we have many more obligations and playing falls by the wayside. That’s why it’s important to schedule the time to enjoy humor, even if it means blocking an hour on your schedule during the day to be able to take a walk or read a book. Sally only learned the value of this when she was forced to rest and encourages the rest of us to not wait that long.
3. Gratitude inspires humor.
“A grateful person is fun to be around because they never demand blessings and yet they see them everywhere.” (page 50)
Being appreciative of what you do have (instead of longing for what you don’t) goes along way in improving moods. And we all know that being near someone who enjoys what they’ve got is much more fun than being around someone who complains all the time.
4. Humor inspires hope.
“I don’t have a whole lot of woo-woo-whoopie-doo-type joy all the time. But, I have a sense of humor and that gives me hope.” (page 54)
Sally stays honest with herself and the readers–she doesn’t pretend that everything is perfect. That’s because humor isn’t going to make life perfect, but it will make it manageable. Having a sense of humor won’t stop you from feeling sad at times, but it will help you rebound and know that things can be better.
5. Humor is a choice.
“‘You can choose to have a nice day, even if you don’t feel like it. So start choosing, NOW!'” (page 135)
This advice from Sally’s mom is incredibly important but so often missed. You choose how something makes you feel, and how you feel in general. Choose to have a nice day by seeing what’s been going well that day, by looking for reasons to laugh, and by smiling. Simply putting a grin on your face can trick your body into believing that today has been a great day.
6. Humor helps the things you can’t control.
“Dude, you might as well sit back and enjoy the ride. The time to sweat bullets is right before you get on the plane when you still have a choice.” (page 251)
We have to make a lot of decisions in our lives and many of those can be stressful–you may not always know what the “right” thing is. However once you’ve made a decision (such as sitting on an airplane mid-flight), it’s time to enjoy what you can because you can’t go back and not get on that flight. Once you’ve made a decision, go forth and embrace it.
7. Humor heals.
“I finally came up with a solution. Create moments that are so overwhelmingly funny that you forget you don’t have your health.” (page 262)
Humor won’t stop cancer or cure Sally’s Transverse Myelitis, but it can heal your soul. Laughter is the best medicine because it can help you heal mentally and, for brief periods of time, help you forget about the woes in the world and in your body. And while humor does help improve your immune system, increase tolerance to pain, and reduce stress, it’s the change in attitude and mood that improves your quality of life, and that’s one of the most important things to heal.
Sally shares a lot of wisdom in her book, both on humor and on living. But perhaps one of the most important things that stuck out to me was this overriding concept: Humor is free, so be generous with it. To find out more, check out the book’s website or purchase Scrambled Leggs on Amazon.