Don’t Forget Your Vitamin L thumbnail

Don’t Forget Your Vitamin L

3 Things by Judy Gruen, Mirth and Meaning

3 Things by Judy Gruen, Mirth and Meaning


Last year, I took my dear friend Esther to a medical appointment at a cancer treatment center.

It was Halloween day, and all the staff, both medical and administrative, were in costume. Esther was extremely thin and weak at the time, her bald head covered by a scarf, and she walked very slowly and tentatively, leaning on me for support. When we finally got to the waiting area, she looked at the other patients, many of whom were also in costume, and said, “Hi. I’m dressed as a cancer patient.”

Esther understood that even in the roughest and scariest of circumstances, a sense of humor is a gift that helps us keep perspective and feeling optimistic. In my work as a humorist, I have received several emails from readers who felt my work had “saved” them from falling into despair on a tough or sad day. I was almost shocked at how being able to laugh was perceived as so valuable.

As the physician-author Norman Cousins famously said, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Make sure to include some Vitamin L in your life every day! Sharing laughter with your spouse, children, friends, and even a store clerk, puts a smile on our faces and gives our souls a little lift.

(By the way, I’m thrilled and grateful to say that my friend Esther is in full recovery from her cancer.)


Create some necessary space between you and your electronic connections.

Many of us (including me, I confess) have become addicted to checking our emails, texts and other electronic communications on our so-called smart phones, but how smart is that?

So often, I see parents not paying attention to their children because they’re on their phones. As one child said to her texting mom when the child was trying to talk to her, “I need you to listen with your face!”

Couples also text at a restaurant instead of talking, and people standing in line at a store often whip out their phones because they have lost the capability of just being, thinking, or saying hello to the clerk or someone else in line.

Gadget addiction is dehumanizing and alienating, but we can fight back. At a minimum, make dinnertime a smartphone-free zone, and turn it off by a set time in the evening so you can refocus on the real, live people around you. Or just read a book!


Even though I try to get myself off most catalog mailing lists, last year I received one from Soft Surroundings, a company I had never heard of, but I just had to try their clothing.

As a woman who wears skirts or dresses (not pants) I was thrilled to find a company that sells very feminine, longish skirts that are very flattering. They are a little on the pricey side, but I have found the two skirts I bought so far are ones I reach for over and over again. I just ordered again since they sent me a $20.00 coupon for my first “anniversary” of ordering from them – plus they were on sale!


Contributor: Judy from Mirth and Meaning
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Check out her books: Till We Eat Again: A Second Helping, The Women’s Daily Irony Supplement — and MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools (with co-author Linda Abraham).