Syndicated Column Offers a Healing Dose of Humor

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Syndicated columnist and public speaker Jena Ball offeres a humorous look at coping with adversity in "Halfway Over the Hill."

When syndicated columnist Jena Ball got a call from her friends in Florida telling her their home was in the path of Hurricane Charley and they were about to evacuate, she did the only thing she thought might help. She told them a story that made them laugh. "I knew from personal experience," says Ball, "that laughter offers relief and gives you a different perspective on tough situations."

Health professionals everywhere, from psychologists to physicians, agree that humor is a powerful tool for coping with tragedy. Dr. Barry Bittman, a neurologist who specializes in the mind-body connection says, "Choosing humor in the face of adversity establishes a needed sense of control and facilitates healing." The brilliant comedian Bill Cosby concurs, saying, "If you can find humor in anything, you can survive it."

As the author of the popular syndicated column "Halfway Over the Hill," Ball specializes in helping people 50 and older smile at the curveballs life has thrown them. Previous editions have dealt with such eclectic subjects as the pros and cons of thongs, the little boy in every man and universal senior moments. This week's column, entitled "A New Recipe for Lemonade," delves into the use of humor to cope with unforeseen disaster. "My goal," says Ball, "was to give my readers in Florida and other parts of the world who are dealing with natural disasters something to smile about. Here is what some of her readers have had to say.

"I love your column about how humor helps us get through the tough times. I know from personal experience that if you can find something to laugh about, it not only takes the edge off, it also helps us to see that the world is bigger than our own problems. You have a way of writing that makes me feel like we're truly all in this together."        

  • Jane Boursaw, Michigan

"I just read 'A New Recipe for Lemonade' and really liked it. You nailed it. I liked how a bit of humor can take the edge off our pain. It causes us to shift our focus from the core of the matter and see that there is still fun out there."

  • Jacquie Archambeau, Florida

"I love your work, Jena. Sometimes laughing is the flip side of crying, and we all need to be reminded of that."

  • Mickey Barnett, Pennsylvania

"I really, really like your work. It's a wonderful shift in perspective."

  • Valerie Haecky, California

Jena Ball is a syndicated columnist with more than 20 years experience under her belt as a teacher and public speaker. She is also the founder of an online school for journalists called "The Nature of Writing" ( When not writing and teaching, she gives talks and does interviews about the subjects covered in her column.

To learn more about Ball, hear audio clips and inquire about having Ball appear on your show, please visit and click on the "About Jena" and "Press Room" links in the menu on the left. To discuss the possibility of carrying "Halfway Over the Hill" in your paper, please contact Ball directly for a price based on your distribution. Samples of "Halfway Over the Hill," including "A New Recipe for Lemonade," are available online a

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