I recently presented at a Caregivers Conference in Maryland, where I gave my talk entitled “Laughter and Other Monkey Business: Transformative Life and Business Practices”. In this one hour session, I discussed therapeutic laughter as a practice to relieve the huge amounts of stress that caregivers often carry and invited the audience to join in some playful laughter exercises. In the second part of the talk, I shared some stress relieving techniques from my book, Monkey Business: 37 Better Business Practices Learned Through Monkeys. The audience participation was magnificent and the verbal feedback was profound and deeply validating. I received feedback from the conference chairperson a few days later. I was in awe of the lovely comments, feeling quite happy that people seemed to have experienced at least some temporary relief from stress. And, as you read the feedback below, please notice that one of these comments is NOT like the others:
• Great stress reducer while having fun! Laughter is the best medicine.
• Enjoyed the practice of how to relieve stress and how to make a negative a positive. (makes a happy person) • Ho ho ha ha ha • Loved that she gave some ideas of what we can do to bring laughter to our lives – very physically engaging • Excellent (2) • Ho! Ho! Ha! Ha! Ha! Yea!
• This is excellent. Love the laughter and stress relief • Ms Heather is a very delightful, caring person who makes one laugh.
• Truly enjoyed the laugh lessons. Heather is the perfect person to present after lunch.
• Laughter is good for you.
• I would love to go to a laughter workshop. Will check it out.
• A fun time for laughter to handle my stress & pain.
• I loved the way she showed how to release stress.
• Very good
• Invigorating & learned much
• Great exercises & relief of tension
• This was a great session. Ms Wandell knows her stuff. She makes you feel like you are the only one in the session. The laughing exercises were great. I will use them.
• Hard to relate to most of the information • I thought the session was going to be about laughter; the exercises were not really funny. The act of the exercise made me feel childlike.
• Very informative
Did you notice that the third comment from the bottom had a completely different tone from the rest? There will always be some percentage of the people who will not resonate with your message. Even in a room full of laughing people, this person did not recognize the presence of people laughing and engaging with each other (comment: I thought this was going to be about laughter?!). And, that is ok. I offered a practice that may help to relieve stress. For some, a different approach may be needed because they are not in a place to even be willing to laugh. You must start with the willingness. People are unique and there is no one approach that will work for 100 % of the people 100% of the time. This is true for every teacher, every manager, everywhere throughout history. This must be kept in mind. If I stop delivering my message because of the person(s) I could not reach, then I would be depriving the rest from the the practice that served them so well that day. I allow this person to be where they are and I carry on with my message, putting my energy into those who are willing and those who respond.