Dr. Beverly S. Adler, aka "Dr. Bev," is a clinical psychologist and Certified Diabetes Educator. She specializes in treating the emotional issues of patients with diabetes. She is the author/editor of two diabetes self-help books and received the CDE Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Metropolitan New York Association of Diabetes Educators. Dr. Bev has lived successfully with T1D for 40+ years. She can be reached at her website www.AskDrBev.com. You can also follow her on Twitter at @AskDrBev.
Laughter is the best medicine . . . unless you have type 1 diabetes, then insulin is probably better. While humor is subjective, some humor aimed at people with diabetes is just plain mean, such as, "You are so sweet, I just went into diabetic shock." As irritating and annoying as some jokes are, try to keep things in perspective. Many things in life are beyond our control—particularly the behavior of uninformed people. You might choose to ignore the ignorance of the jokester or educate them about the facts of diabetes. But humor can also be used as a healthy coping strategy to help overcome such challenges and enhance your life.
Paul E. McGhee, PhD, was a pioneer in humor research. He said, "Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health." Dr. Sigmund Freud also spoke about the positive effects of wit and humor. He believed that humor was a highly useful way of counteracting nervous tension, and that humor could be used as an effective therapy.
Laughter is good for your health
- Physical benefits: Laughter boosts immunity, lowers stress hormones, decreases pain, and relaxes physical tension.
- Mental benefits: Laughter improves mood, eases anxiety and fear, relieves stress, and adds joy to life.
- Social benefits: Humor and playful communication strengthen our relationships, trigger positive feelings, help defuse conflict, and create a positive bond.
One small study of 19 people with diabetes looked at the effects of laughter on blood sugar levels. After eating, the group attended a tedious lecture. On the next day, the group ate the same meal and then watched a comedy. After the comedy, the group had lower blood sugar levels than they did after the lecture.
Humor as a character strength
Psychologists see humor as a character strength. One study suggested that those high in this strength tend to concentrate on the positive aspects of their past, present and future. Those who seek humor in their lives appear to focus on the pleasant aspects of their current lives.
One important characteristic that helps us laugh is not taking ourselves too seriously.
If you live with diabetes, try to laugh at situations rather than complain about them. Look for humor in a bad situation, and uncover the irony and absurdity of life. This will help improve your mood and the mood of those around you.
Managing diabetes is a full time job, but with a little bit of humor we can take it all in stride. See if any of the following diabetes humor tickles your funny bone:
- Being "high" means something completely different to a person living with diabetes than it does to most people.
- Your 10-year-old-child with diabetes announces at school that he lost his "site" and his classmates think he has gone blind.
- You ask for a pen and your partner brings you your insulin pen.
- You realize people are staring at you in the cleaning aisle after you pick up a new product and exclaim to your family, "Hey, I bet this would get the blood off the bedroom wall!"
- You ask your teenager with diabetes what they had for lunch and they reply, “Forty-five carbs.”
- You glance at the subject line of an email and it reads, "I did my first insertion!" and it's not a porn spam.
So, laughter might just be the best medicine. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.
Has humor helped you through a difficult time with diabetes? Or do you know a good diabetes joke? Share with our community by commenting below.