A Conversation with Loretta LaRoche
Author, Stress Management Consultant and Humorist
Loretta LaRoche, author, speaker and corporate stress management consultant, was the winner of the 2007 National Humor Treasure award. Her seven books reflect the lighter side of her life philosophy. This month, Lighten Up! joins her title hit parade that includes Life is Not a Stress Rehearsal and Life Is Short – Wear Your Party Pants.
Q. Why does your message, “Life is not a stress rehearsal,” resonate with audiences?
I have found that, in the last 30 years, Americans’ paradigm for living has become busyness and stress. We live as if every minute is stressful and define our lives that way. Some stress is essential to life; it excites us and moves us forward, signaling when to pay attention to that which gives us passion and happiness. It also helps us discern when we are in danger. What incapacitates many people is catastrophising and awfulizing, which leads to feeling they have no choices.
Discovering how to find the “bless in the mess,” and living in appreciation encourages a more peaceful, rich and juicy life.
Q. Your books and talks blend humor, common sense and values, like living in the moment and optimism, as a sure-fire antidote to stress. How does this work?
We all choose how to interpret the events in our lives. We can opt for humor, wisdom, compassion or the willingness to accept the
situation for what it is.
Many of us spend our time listing our weaknesses. Then we make the mistake of sharing them with other people
who listen and help us add to them. We anticipate problems and practice misery.
Optimists know that bad things can happen, but they don’t obsess over them. A true optimist wakes up thinking: “Anything can happen today and I can deal with it, as I have in the past.”
We’ve all experienced difficult times in our lives, and for the most part we survive them and go on. It’s these bumps in the road that give us that can-do feeling.
Q. Why do you believe that it’s never too late to have a happy childhood?
Children are masters of living in the moment; but for most adults it takes some work. If we integrate some of what kids do we can approach each day with awe and look at everything with new eyes. We let go of a “been there, done that” attitude and really look around us. That creature on the floor is not just another bug, it’s a BUG!
When we are truly involved in the natural flow of our life, time and space disappear; we now live in the moment, we are at our best and feel oh, so good. Allow your children or grandchildren to lead you down the slippery slope to a place where you can act silly and be a child again. There, you will rediscover the simple pleasures that bring you happiness, joy and a pure sense of awe.
Q. What advice do you have for families to create a home filled with joy rather than anxiety?
Role modeling joyful, optimistic behavior ourselves is one of the best ways to create a happy family. Often, we have no clue how powerful our everyday conversations and body language are in influencing children’s behavior.
I suggest doing simple things together, like eating dinner. Let everyone in the family have unstructured play time. And don’t waste your day worrying; instead pat yourself on the back for what you have done right.
Don’t reserve fun for weekends, birthdays and holidays; pick a day and celebrate for no reason at all. Live life as if you only have a few moments left. Just break out the champagne and party pants and celebrate!
Q. How can people maintain their joy during difficult times?
Few can be joyful 24/7, but even in the darkest times, there can be humor and laughter. Laughter makes life easier; it allows us to see the absurdity of it all and gives our brains a vacation and a reality check. Being in good humor keeps life simpler, lighter and more
humane. Let’s all have amazing lives, where you become the fun you are seeking—your own entertainment center. That way, wherever you go will be joyful, if you just show up.
For more stress-busting fun, visit Loretta-Laroche.com.
Connect with freelance writer Gail Condrick of Sarasota, FL, at niavisions.com.