CONVERSATIONS

Giggles and God: Exploring Humanity, Humor, and the Divine
What do humor and the Divine Presence have in common? Neither can be seen with our naked eye, and can only be experienced within our spiritual hearts. Humanity gives us all the ingredients for a cosmic comedy: Exaggerated expectations, foibles and fear, angst and anger, misery and mirth. Humor as a coping device and laughter as its physical expression are two of the key ingredients to keep continued faith when our spiritual hearts are heavy and hurt.

Think of it this way: Humor is a ringing doorbell, and all you have to do is answer the door. When you open it, Faith and Hope can come in and give you a free demonstration, possibly even clean your carpet.


Remember Life in the Sandbox? Balancing Work with Your Mind, Body, and Spirit
Life seemed easier when we could play with our dolls or trucks in the sandbox. I can only think of two stresses back then. One was Mom would call me back to the house before I was done playing. The other stress was, I hated getting sand in my mouth. Yech!!! Life seems a bit more complicated now. Balancing work, family, and friends is not an easy task. This presentation portrays work stress in a humorous way and gives suggestions for "lightening up" our emotional workload. The audience participates in laughter exercises and playful recreations of the different "voices" we hear inside our head that added to our stress in the first place. Wordplay explores how negative self-talk makes us tired and grumpy even before we begin a task. Positive "kid-like" affirmations can make all the difference in our energy levels and attitude toward work tasks.

Healing Your Heart with Humor: Mind, Body, Spirit Healing in the Health Care Setting
Loss of our humanity, dignity, and faith sums up the shortcomings that happen while being part of most health care systems. It doesn't matter whether you are the patient or caregiver; all of us lose focus of the bigger picture when attending to our health care needs. Different types of humor and mirth have their own healing potential. This presentation focuses on the physical, physiological, and emotional benefits of laughter. Participants learn about different types of humor and explore what truly tickles their funny bone. The benefits of crying and tears are also part of the demonstration (however, most people laugh harder during this segment). A myriad of examples on "how to" use and create more humor in health care settings are also part of this presentation.

Joy Sundae (with a Cherry!): Using Humor to Nurture Your Soul
Used the metaphor of a favorite celebration treat, Deb encourages the audience to create their own “Joy Sundae.” The recipe includes 2 scoops of laughter, drizzled with warm memories, a whipped topping of mirth and sprinkled with all the nuts in your life. The audience participates in laughter exercises (in case anyone forgot how to laugh). Deb also manages to get the audience to “cry,” although most participants laugh their way through this exercise. Toilet paper is provided free of charge, in case there is not enough tissues available! This talk centers on “how to” let more humor into one’s life. Deb encourages the audience to celebrate everything from accomplishments to life’s losses. She reminds us that life is like an ice cream cone or sundae. If you don’t eat it, or partake of its sweetness, it’s going to drip all over you. It will melt right before your eyes. Nurture yourself with laughter and joy and celebrate life with friends.

Teardrops and Jellybeans: Embracing Your Grief with Humor

This presentation reflects on Deb’s and others personal experiences using humor to move poignantly through the grief process. Humor and grief are both very personal and unique experiences. Giving us permission to laugh during times of grief is very difficult to do. Humor is one tool to help reframe pain-filled death and/or loss experiences. Using humor can be a safe way to change cultural or religious norms and tailor your grief process for a custom fit. It take courage to go outside a perceived norm. The truth is that there is no norm in the grieving process.  Participants take part in laughter and crying exercises and learn to identify the physiological benefits of both. Definitions of grief and its surrounding myths are discussed. Definitions and examples of “reframing” are also discussed.

The Strength of Bubbles: Exploring the Strength of Our Humanity

Remember playing with bubbles? Blowing them through the magic wand? Maybe you played with them in the bathtub or while you did the dishes? Remember watching them, patterns of color swirling and then fading? How about collecting 3 or 4 bubbles together all on your magic bubble wand? How come you can poke some of them and they pop while others seem to bend with your finger? Bubbles have a certain magic to them. Using a bubble metaphor, this talk explores our own inner strength and unique gifts that keep us strong when the winds of life are blowing us around. The audience participates in laughter exercises, bubble meditation, and games that bring out the strength of their “inner child.” Laughing with and at adversity gives us a sense of hope and empowerment.

Injections of Joy: How to Self Medicate with Humor

Feeling stress before you get to the office? Thinking about creative ways to punish your co-workers before you step out of the shower? Whether you have one more funeral service to officiate, chart to write in, fractured funny bone to set, or one more class clown to teach, you need a shot of joy (not tequila) to help with burnout and stress. This presentation combines spirituality, humor, and self-care techniques. It is for anyone who is in any type of customer service profession, including medical professionals, clergy, teachers, and the computer geek you talk to for tech support!

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Four years of oncology/ hospice/home nursing "back boned" my belief in the marriage of humor and spirituality. Whether people were doing their damnedest to live or their damnedest to die, humor restored their dignity along the way.  People who are the receivers of healthcare are constantly "being done to" which in turn promotes the indignity of helplessness.  Jocularity restores the balance within the spiritual eco system of "giving and receiving".   Appreciative contributions of wit, winks, and smiles, coming from my patients, strengthened my courage to go into the next room, bandage a horrific gaping wound or place a loved one on a morgue cart.
-
quote from my  story "Injections of Joy"
in
21 Peaceful  Nurses


Humor in nursing is a lot like gardening in wild prairie. I plant a few seeds of silliness and I never know what will sprout up.  Sometimes my tears are the water and my sarcasm is the fertilizer.  Words like "We need to be serious" or nurses that seem to be afraid to laugh and condemn those that do, trample the tender seedlings of hope and faith that grows from humor.  The beauty of it all is seeing blooming rainbows connect the mind, body and spirit. Burnout in nursing begins when there is no crop of rainbows.
-quote from my story
"Injections of Joy"
in
21 Peaceful Nurses
Contact Debra Joy Hart  - Call (217)469-7889 or (217)778-8766 - E-mail: debrajoyhart@gmail.com
Benefits of All Programs:

- Education about the physiological benefits of laughter and humor, and aspects of healthy verses
     non healthy humor

  - Motivation to stay connected to their "inner play pal"

  - 3 ways to immediately implement humor and laughter for the workplace 
    (for increased productivity and decreased absenteeism)

  - 3 ways to increase humor and/or laughter in their own lives or with family

  - Learn how to reframe and grow through grief and loss, with gentle humor.

  - Inspiration to use healthy humor with "regularity" in their lives,

Each program has a general theme and then is "tailored" for your specific group.  I speak with each client, gathering information and details to create an atmosphere of safe and healthy humor.
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