Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets. One of the things I was really looking forward to when I bought a dog was being greeted exuberantly every time I came home and getting writing ideas while walking. Watson provided me with neither. But he did come with an unexpected extra - laughter.
The thing with a 'challenging' pet is that they make you laugh. Most of the time Watson loves his agility training. We took the video camera and he refused to cooperate. The moment we turned the camera off he peed on his trainer.
Laughter makes you feel good. And the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter subsides. Humour helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss.
More than just a respite from sadness and pain, laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh–or even simply a smile–can go a long way toward making you feel better. And laughter really is contagious—just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in the fun.
One essential characteristic that helps us laugh is not taking ourselves too seriously. We’ve all known the classic tight-jawed sourpuss who takes everything with deathly seriousness and never laughs at anything. No fun there!
Some events are clearly sad and not occasions for laughter. But most events in life don’t carry an overwhelming sense of either sadness or delight. They fall into the grey zone of ordinary life–giving you the choice to laugh or not.
Checklist for lightening up
When you find yourself taken over by what seems to be a horrible problem, ask these questions:
Is it really worth getting upset over?
Is it worth upsetting others?
Is it that important?
Is it that bad?
Is the situation irreparable?
Is it really your problem?
When I'm writing a piece for a live event I try to write humorous pieces. I think they tend to go down better at live reading. I don't see it as being a comedian. I am a writer. I write educational resources, short stories, poems, and novels. I do think about the audience I'm writing for and most people want a laugh.