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Go To Health! (Because Life's Too Short. . .)

the Author:

Shara Rendell-Smock, author

Shara Rendell-Smock has written more than twenty computer software manuals, numerous newspaper articles, including a monthly health column for The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

She's the author of two books of non-fiction: Getting Hooked: Fiction's Opening Sentences 1950's- 1990's
Living With Big Cats: The Story of Jungle Larry, Safari Jane, and David Tetzlaff
For ordering information, click here.

To read more about these books, participate in an ongoing joke contest, surf on over to .
The author currently lives on Florida's Space Coast.

Shara has recently signed with a New York Literary agency.

Humour and Health

"What the Experts Say"
- Part 2 of 5

This week I asked some of the experts in the field of therapeutic humor to tell me what they consider most important.

"While we rarely have control over the events that happen to us, we do have control over our response. Stress is not the event itself, but rather, our reaction or response to that event," says Karyn Buxman, a former nursing educator.

For the past ten years Ms. Buxman has been a professional speaker/author on therapeutic humor. Buxman has videos and audios available on the subject, and has co-edited a book, "Nursing Perspectives on Humor." This serious look at the use of therapeutic humor by and for the health professional can be ordered via email or by calling 1- 800-8HUMORX.

"We have many tools available to us to deal with the daily stressors we encounter such as time management techniques, breathing exercises and muscle relaxation to name a few. But let's not take for granted one of the most beneficial healthy coping mechanisms available to us: humor and laughter. It's available at no cost and there's no limitations to the number of times it can be used in a day."

People do gain the benefits when humor happens by chance, but Ms. Buxman believes there are too many benefits to wait for it to happen. Buxman would like to see people regularly take an active role and make a conscious effort to put more humor into their lives. "Humor solidifies a group, improves productivity, and empowers communication."

Mark Darby, mental health clinician and humorist, emphatically says that humor is the most underrated pathway to health.

"Its benefits are undisputed but its use is actively discouraged in most areas where we live. It's okay to laugh in comedy clubs or in your lazy boy. Laugh at work and you are unproductive. Laugh at church and you are disrespectful. But this ain't necessarily so."

Darby, author of the book Use It or Lose It: Humor and the Treatment of Mental Illness, says humor promotes health by:

  • Reducing stress: We have all felt the relief after a good laugh
  • Providing proper perspective on tough times. When you laugh you look at a problem differently
  • Increasing oxygenation and circulation throughout the body
  • Augmenting the immune system to help fight colds and flu and cancer
  • Increasing the quality of life by adding enjoyment
  • Increasing socialization and enhancing communication

    Darby says we need to become more open to the humor around us. To meet this goal daily, we can use his three R's of Humor: Remind, Remember and Retell.

    Remind yourself that you will look for something humorous in your life. Remember the humor when it occurs, and then commit to Retelling what happened to someone else. These three R's create the essential skills to utilizing humor in our lives - Being open to the humor that occurs, remembering what happened so we can recall it later, and retelling the experience so that we can share the humor with someone else.

    The American Association for Therapeutic Humor (AATH) will host a national conference the last weekend in January (1/31-2/1) in Washington, D.C. Some of the top leaders in the field of therapeutic humor will be there.

    And that's no joke.

    This week's healthy humor picks:

    The American Association for Therapeutic Humor

    Karyn Buxman's Humourx

    Mark Darby's site

    If you want some laughs, go to the Joke Contest page at my web site at . But don't forget to come back here to read other Sideroad writers' columns!

    Next Week:

    A Matter of Perspective

    Does laughing make you feel better when you're sick? Got any experiences to share? Or jokes for next week? If so, e-mail me at

    Back to the top / The New Sideroad / Go to the latest column

Issue # 10
Tuesday, Jan. 6, 1998


Humour and Health

Part 1 of 5 - "Think You're Funny?" (A look at laughter.)

Overcoming Sleep Disorders

Part 1 of 4 - how your mattress can make all the difference.

Part 2 of 4 - strategies to help you sleep.

Part 3 of 4 - more strategies to help you sleep.

Part 4 of 4 - what is a sleep log and how does it work?


Stats indicate that for those over the age of 50, one of every two women and one in eight men will have an osteoporosis-related fracture. Our sedentary lifestyle puts us at risk for this disease. Yet osteoporosis is not inevitable. Here's some information on this disease and how we can prevent it.

Part 1 of 4 - - details the likelihood of developing this disease, and its dangers and consequences.

Part 2 of 4 - - presents the risk factors of osteoporosis and some of our misconceptions about the disease.

Part 3 of 4 - - insights into diagnosis, and basic management techniques.

Part 4 of 4 - - new medical treatments to stop osteoporosis, and safety in the home of osteoporosis sufferers.

Next Week:

A Matter of Perspective

Part of the original Sideroad. Text 1998, Shara Rendell-Smock. Posted Jan. 6, 1998. The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at

Shara's books can be ordered from her web site at