There are so many events happening in the world that can stop us in our tracks and wipe the smile off of our faces. From weather events, school shootings, terrorist threats, and domestic violence (there are plenty more to name, right?), our world can be a sad place. We need to laugh! We need to hear a joke or something that takes us away from the pain of experiencing lack and heartbreak.
SO…why should we laugh?
- Humor is one of the 24 characteristics related to well-being, according to the VIA Survey of Signature Strengths. It reflects on the ability of people to connect with one another and improving on it can show improvement in your overall happiness.
- Laughing at yourself can improve your self-esteem. If you are someone who takes yourself very seriously, you probably cannot laugh at yourself. Even just a little playfulness with regard to how you see yourself can help you see and celebrate how unique you are. IT may even stop you from comparing yourself to others, which is not very funny at all. I know that I feel better in my skin when laughter has a chance to relieve some of my self-imposed pressure.
- Having a sense of humor helps to reduce stress by helping us to trust our instincts. It is so important that we feel like we can trust ourselves when it comes to the curveballs that come our way. A lot of us are prone to anxiety and worry so at times, we just get swept away by all of the “what ifs” of this life. When we can see the comedy in our experiences, we can move through them quickly, with calmness and efficacy.
- Smiling has its benefits! Smiling alone can improve health and longevity. Imagine if you put smiling and laughter into the same moment….we will more than likely see an improvement in our social relationships too!
- Humor improves our likeability. It is human nature to want to be like, although we should not go out of our way to impress people, that is dangerous and unhealthy. People love to be around people that make them feel good and have a solid sense of humor. They say that social relationships are one of the highest indicators of happiness, being more playful can amp up your likeability, and therefore your overall well-being.
- Lightening up helps you solve problems. I am a mom, and when they were little, I had to get on their level in order to get things done. Being creative and playful will helped us come up with games to get everyone to work together and get things done. It may also help with minimizing embarrassment around others when we talk about the same things happening to us in a light-hearted way.
How can we improve our sense of humor?
- Smile more. They make people feel good and you never know what people are going through. That smile can be a healer.
- Get silly. Children are always willing to be goofy. My boys have me on guard all day long because I never know what will be said to have me bent over laughing until I cry.
- Get some perspective. I have so many things happen in a day sometimes that I just wanna scream! I have to take a deep breath and think about things…look at the bigger picture, then laugh at myself. Yes, they may have been embarrassing but now that I survived it, it was funny as heck!
- Listen to music. Music is such a huge therapist for me. Every Sunday after church, you can find this girl playing music and dancing in the kitchen. I have mini-concerts in my car, larger ones in the shower … I mean Grammy-worthy (sorry not sorry). Music is such great medicine.
- Think about a comedian or person in your life that seems to take things lightly. When things get difficult, think about what that person would do in your situation. Taking a cur from someone you admire can make you become more approachable and relatable…
And more human!
We have a choice in how we want to see our lives. We can choose to be uber-serious or we can see our experiences as assignments that will eventually help someone else when we survive it. While we know that there are some things we will never be able to laugh at, as often as we can, we should remind ourselves that everything is not to be taken so seriously. And we will know what those things are.