I am learning everyday about things which influence our attitudes and behavior. Today, I watched this TED Talk because I read about it in the Laughter Yoga newsletter. Dr. Madan Kataria has always said when it comes to the benefits of laughter we must, “Fake it until we make it.”  In other words our bodies receive the benefit from Laughter even if it isn’t real when we begin. Our bodies do not know the difference between “real laughter” and “fake laughter”. Humor is a cognitive reality while laughter is a physical reality. Professor Amy Cuddy a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, shares her research in how your body position influences others and even your own brain. She studies how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments affect people from the classroom to the boardroom. And her training as a classical dancer  is evident in her fascinating work on “power posing” ! Check this out.

[ted id=1569]

Courage To Be Yourself

Old Port Washington Light

Old Port Washington Light

On August 12th I received a phone call from my mother telling me that my father had died. While he had cancer and it had spread to his bones, he courageously endured until he became so weak he could hardly walk. With a blood sugar above 800, he was taken to the hospital where he spent another week or two. Then to a rehab nursing facility where he was not really happy. All he wanted to do was go home. With my mother at his side, he is now with the Lord. If there is one thing I saw in my father’s life it was the confidence and courage to try new things. He invented a die casting machine, had it built and attended trade shows in hopes of selling his machine to the industry. It didn’t happen. That didn’t stop dad. He continued to think, plan and put his ideas into practice. He was creative and always looked for a good and positive solution to improve the world and the work that he did. In our world it seems as if the media and the dominate culture is telling us that we should be, “Like everyone else.” So we buy the clothing others are buying. We choose houses like everyone is living in. We vote the way everyone else is voting, but does this really bring a feeling of positivity? Or does it really leave us feeling as if, “we are not enough”?  If you are tired of these negative feelings, you have the power to change them. Build positive skills into your life. Write a thank you note to someone who touches your life. Keep a gratitude log of three or four things or people you are truly grateful for. The more you look for the blessings of life the more you will see.

Blessing, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

“Jolly” John


“Marinated in Negativity”

Soaking in Citrus

Marinated in citrus is when the food soaks in the flavor of surrounding it. What flavors of the world are you soaking in?

Why do I use this phrase to describe our culture? Think about what you see and hear almost everyday. The first story on the news each evening doesn’t tell about the mother who faithfully cares for her children, or the father who has stood by his wife’s side caring for her every need for 30 years and counting because she has muscular dystrophy.  They don’t tell you about the teenager who works for his dad in the mud of a construction site to help pay his way to college.  They don’t tell you about the young woman who was homeless as a teenager, spent 2 years in a residential home, went to a foster home, went to college and is now married, working and raising four children with her husband. No, these stories which are being lived out by hard working people aren’t news, but the drug dealer who is shot, the latest murder in Flint, and fire that destroyed a home and killed two people are on the top of the list.  Add to this the daily failures of our lives, the burnt dinner, the hostile driver who cuts you off on the way home from work, and having to forgo the trip to Cedar Point because you replaced the leaking old washing machine instead.  Slowly, invisibly little by little the effects of “not being enough” permeate every waking moment until, if we can, sleep gives us a little reprieve.  My point is not to boast of this culture of negativity, but to point out the danger of not recognizing how subtly it seeps into our lives, pulling us all into its grip. I talk of “being marinated in negativity” so we see the value of taking a different course, the course of positivity, hope, joy and laughter.

Come alone with me on the journey of POSITIVITY that will take us from the fog of negativity into the beauty of a fresh outlook, a different focus and a more creative way to think and live in our world.

Thanks for listening-Keep Laughing,

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

“Jolly” John




Still Under Construction

The road beside our house is under construction. While I have no idea how long this has been in the planning stages, I know that it has been several years.  Now that construction has begun it is a mess. My website is a mess for now but as I learn it will improve and will the information and resources.  Please comeback and grow with in in Positivity, Joy and Laughter.

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope & Laughter,

Jolly John

A Work In Progress

For the major part of my life, I have ministered to people in various walks of life.  As a parish pastor, I stood with the sick, the bereaved, the desperate, the confused, the lonely, the aged, the lost and the dying. I rejoiced over new life as families welcomed new members. I cried as I considered the confusion of our world and the multitude of voices leading bright and creative people down roads that lead away from hope, affirmation and harmony with one another. Following the death of my own son, and the ensuing darkness of my loss and grief, I was given the opportunity to process the stress and the uncertainty of life with a bunch (I really wanted to say multitude, but I’m not sure I even now that many people.)of very special, who had the courage to allow me to lead them through their grief.  During this journey I was exposed to the benefits of positivity and the science based, hard facts, that people have the option and opportunity to get up and out of the mire of negativity. I have come to realize that our culture is what I call, “marinated in negativity.” This  unseen negative cloud that hangs over us creates stress and thwarts creativity making problem solving much more difficult, even impossible. So now I am embarking on the new passion of bringing the Joy, Hope, Laughter and Creativity of POSITIVITY to Bay City of Michigan and beyond. The more people who are willing to join with me on this journey the more joy’s benefit will “broaden and build” as Dr. Barbara Frederickson says in her book Love 2.0.  While I’d love to share all I’ve learned right now, I can’t. But I will tell you I haved  trained as a leader in the International Laughter Yoga organization, and will be showing people what sustained and unconditional laughter can do for them and the precious people in their lives, their families, and others who live in and around Bay City, Michigan. I could use your help to reach the goal of making Bay City, Michigan known as the Joy and Laughter Capital of Michigan. if you hear of Laughter “Yoga”, don’t let the “yoga” in Laughter Yoga to scare you because of past impressions. The “yoga” is about healthy breathing, and moving, and child-like playfulness. We do not do positions. In India they have groups which meet daily in the park to have a sessions before they go to work. The benefits of laughing and joy for stressed people are amazing. Thanks for reading this far. Look for more resources as I build this web site.

Blessings, Peace, Joy & Laughter,

Jolly John Wernecke

Laughter IS the Best Medicine

We often hear age old wisdom such as “Laughter is the Best Medicine” but is it? I’m not sure of Laughter is the BEST medicine but I know it is a very cheap and very good medicine. Since I am not an expert in all medicines, it would be wrong for me to make such a statement. This I know there is much scientific evidence to show the benefits of what is called HEU (Hearty Extended Unconditional) Laughter. In a study of 200 healthy young subjects  where one group participated in seven 20 minute Laughter Yoga sessions over 3 weeks they showed a significant decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. They also show and 18% increase in positive emotions and nearly 28% decrease in negative emotions.

This tells me we should put more intentional HEU Laughter into our lives. Telling jokes may be a good way to do it. However, that is leaving the consistent, intentional laughter to chance. The jokes may not be funny to everyone. But laughing for no reason like a baby or a young child does brings the benefits without chance. Your body doesn’t know the difference. Just Laugh! It doesn’t cost a thing and it pays huge dividends.

Thanks for listening-Keep Laughing,

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

“Jolly” John