An unknown author is quoted as saying “Every survival kit should include a sense of humor.”
What a great quote! I was reminded of this today when talking with someone getting ready to face an experience that, in the past, has proven to an absolute miserable time. Being the “helper type” I am, I automatically wanted to “talk about their feelings” and process all their worries about what might happen. Instead, I gave the reins of discussion over to the other person. I let them lead the topics and tone of conversation. I let them set the agenda for the next hour. Rather than talking about the issue, which was my initial desire, they decided to share something really funny with me. There was humor annd lighthearted joking throughout the hour. We laughed together!
From a counseling perspective, this can be viewed as avoidance or denial. Some may argue that I missed an opportunity to confront this person about their use of humor to avoid talking about their feelings. Maybe so… but we spent an hour the prior week talking about the heavy stuff. I honestly think what this person needed from me today was to let them laugh. Accept their lighter side. Maybe it is a defense mechanism. So what? I think it is a great one!
Don’t underestimate power of laughter to heal hurt and stress and fear and anger, even if just for the moment. Think about how good it feels to laugh with another person, especially when the laugh is so good it hurts!
I found an article on Psychcentral.com related to humor and it’s power to reduce stress and pain. The writer also left some good tips on adding humor to your every day life.
“Humor up” your work environment.Bring kids’ toys to work and keep them within reach. When you are stressed, take out a toy and play. That irate customer on the phone will have no idea that you are keeping your cool by playing with a Slinky. Place funny pictures of friends and loved ones around your office, including ones of you when you were a ridiculous-looking kid.
- Create a humor file. Fill it with funny cartoons, sayings and jokes, as you run across them. When things are looking particularly grim, refer to your file. You’ll get a good laugh and be able to put things back in perspective in no time.
- Create sitcom situations. When you find yourself in a nerve-wracking situation (such as locking your keys in the car), think of how Groucho or Lucy would handle it.
- For recreation, do some of the things you did as a kid. Go to the zoo, an amusement park, bowling or swinging — the sky’s the limit! You’ll find that these activities completely take you away from all of that “heavy” stuff. And the escape will do wonders for your attitude.
- Exaggerate a stressful situation. Take your situation and make it even bigger than it is. You might think this will cause more stress; however, blowing the problem up will allow you to see the absurdity of it, and afford you a great belly laugh.
- Invite friends over for a “come as you are” party — and insist that they come as they are!
- Host a slumber party. You’re never too old! Have friends bring pillows and blankets, eat junk food, and stay up all night telling scary stories. Trust me, this will provide you with a new perspective — a hysterically funny one.
So go out today and be silly, tell a corny joke, and make yourself and someone else laugh! You deserve the mental break! Need some help? Check out these Top 5 Funny Websites!
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