February 16, 2022
March 2, 2022


HONEYCOMB COWFISH.  What a face!  And its name sounds goofy, especially when repeated: honeycomb cowfish, honeycomb cowfish, honeycomb cowfish. Their behavior is ingenious – these fish change color in order to protect themselves.  I saw a cowfish while snorkeling over a sponge garden. It swam under me changing color as it moved.  Colors rippled over its body – mottled green as it passed over sea grass, tan over a sandy patch, dark as it moved over rocks. 

I followed the creature, fascinated by the constantly changing colors.  I wondered if it was tired from changing colors.  Then I realized it was more likely tired from swimming away from me so I quit following it.   

Finding humor in situations is a way we can change our mood and take care of ourselves.  

Recently I went skiing and got so busy chatting with 2 strangers on a chair lift that I wasn’t paying enough attention when it was time to get off the lift. Suddenly I realized I had waited too long. I quickly jumped off the lift (not the ideal method). I slid, flailed and fell. For all the world to see!  

Then came the struggle to stand up on an icy slope while people asked “are you ok?” as they skied around the obstacle that was me. I felt embarrassed, angry at myself and basically stupid. I really do know how to get off a ski lift. I focused on standing up and getting out of the way. By the time I was at the top of the hill I was not in the best mood to focus on skiing. Slipping at the bottom of a lift is one thing. Wiping out while going fast on icy snow is much more dangerous. I needed to calm myself so I could focus on the slope.  

To settle myself down I focused on two things – “falling is part of skiing” and “this will be funny… someday.” (At the moment, it is comical. A year from now it will be hysterical!) These thoughts helped me change my mood. I was able to gain some perspective and focus on the next step of the process. It increased my safety on that icy slope.  

Humor – changes moods. Acknowledging the humor of “Laura the life-long skier so busy chatting she falls off a simple lift” helped me settle myself on top of that slope which meant that I could then actually ski. Seeing the humor helped me lose the anger and embarrassment. Life is constantly changing, and mistakes are part of every day. Finding a way to laugh at these events puts them in perspective.  

There are other ways to add laughter to your day too – puns, riddles, jokes. Laughing with others increases social bonds and helps build community. Laughter increases your resilience by lifting mood, releasing stress, and inspiring new perspectives.  

Know any good jokes? Or do you have a funny story to share? I would love to hear it! 

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Laura A. Gaines