By Joanna Fuchs
A sense of humor allows you to find your funny bone and use it in both positive and negative situations. It is known to reduce sorrow, stress and anxiety. It increases coping abilities, aides in healing and restoration, confidence and self-esteem. In sickness it is your fastest road to recovery. A good laugh heals a lot of hurts and pains. There are physical, cognitive, emotional, and social benefits of humor. Laughing is and always will be the best form of medicine & therapy. It is the most important ingredient for your life. Having a sense of humor also showsyou approach life with a good-natured attitude.
True humor is genuine and reflects your personality. It helps you to talk about all the challenges, and things that are hard to talk about. People with humor are perceived as warm, down-to-earth and kind, good at reducing the tension in uncomfortable situations and able to laugh at their own faults. Where do you fall on the sense of humor scale? Here are my 5 ways to get started.
1. Big Difference between being funny and having a sense of humor.
Being funny means being able to express humor: perhaps telling a laugh-filled story, a witty pun, or a well-timed joke. Having a sense of humor means having the ability to let go, being able to laugh at—or at least see the humor in—life’s absurdities. You don’t have to be funny to have a sense of humor.
As the old saying goes, laughter is the shortest distance between two people. No one knows that more than good-humored individuals. Those who have a good sense of humor not only see the value in making others laugh, but they prioritize laughter themselves.
One way to start helping you develop your sense of humor is to dig deep and ask yourself, what makes me laugh? What are the things that make me smile and lighten up? There are various types of humor, such as bonding and laughing-at-life humor. If you’re not sure how to have a sense of humor about things, watch other people. How do your friends and family laugh at the world around them and the things that happen to them? Having a sense of humor can get you out of tight corners or sticky situations with a funny line or quick wit. It can help you be a peace maker in situations when the temperature becomes uncomfortable and it’s time to tone it down.
2. Learn to Laugh at yourself first
Sense of humor is like sprinkling confetti a little at a time and a little goes a long way. Develop the grace & ability to laugh at yourself first before you begin to tease othersbecause it is an art. When you start & learn to laugh at your own situations first, others will appreciate your humility, honesty and see a side of you they have never known. It humanizes you. Don’t be afraid to recall your most embarrassing moments of the past and learn to tell them like short stories with a funny side.
Be dramatic and a little mischievous and playful. There is a child in each one of us. This will automatically create a light environment around you and your home. Make sure not to include things that are too personal or that makes others feel uncomfortable. Be prepared to also get quick quips and zingers from others as they partake in your silliness & playfulness. Be a good sport and go along for the ride. Don’t start pouting as soon as a quip or zinger is returned.
Having a light-hearted attitude about yourself is one way of keeping your sense of humoralive. Everyone needs to take themselves seriously sometimes, but learning to laugh at yourself is a way to self-acceptance. No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes. Accept it and move on. Remember the lesson. Don’t make a career out of it. Experience is the best teacher.
3. Being culturally open minded is mandatory
Learn to be culturally, ethnically open minded and responsible. There is no excuse for ignorance. Times are constantly changing. Educate yourself about different cultures and what is acceptable & unacceptable. In the day and age of multicultural schools, colleges and workplace diversity, it is vital to be fairly well informed about characteristics and differences of various cultures. Exposure to different cultures, customs, habits, typical behavior and culinary styles will help you to draw the line between humor and things that are offensive. Forge friendships with different communities as that is the best learning. Lightheartedly laugh off their mistakes like you would your own. This not only makes you feel good, but it makes them feel accepted, which can help your relationship. A funny person is always surrounded by people.
If you are telling jokes, think about context. Is this an appropriate joke for work, a date, or the group of people you are with? Will it offend someone? Know the difference between punching up and punching down. Punching up involves poking fun at a powerful group. Punching down means making fun of a vulnerable or oppressed groups. Racist, sexist, and crude humor can be extremely offensive. Joking about a person’s religion, political belief, and other belief systems may also cross into offensive territory. Stay away from it.
4. Keep it simple and don’t be mean.
I lean quite a bit on my sense of humor for various situations. I started to learn some simple jokes, one liner and tried them out when appropriate. It brought a smile to someone’s face and it worked. There is nothing more gratifying then when kindness and humor makes someone’s day. I use humor to diffuse situations. It saves me from stress and heartache and has become my saving grace in all seasons. It is a trusted coping mechanism that has helped me to get through sickness, hardships and grief.
I started with baby steps. I dipped my toes and checked reactions, adjusted my mental quickness and delivery. It was not only about changing my voice, using non offensive language, movements and being silly, it was an art. It served as a good icebreaker in social situations and helped as a filler in those awkward silent moments when you need small talk and humor to keep the conversation going. It helped put people as ease and in a relaxed state of mind and told them they can chill in my company.
Remember, don’t overdo it. It’s exhausting. We all want to run away as fast as possiblefrom over the top and obnoxious characters.
Always be kind, don’t make fun of people for things they can’t change. That is mean spirited. Being mean is not funny in any group or situation. There is a big difference between keeping things light, being silly, playing around and being mean. Don’t make others the butt of your jokes. Being mean makes you look like a jerk, insecure and inconsiderate so avoid it at all cost. Having a sense of humor means you approach life with a kind natured attitude. You don’t use others to get a cheap laugh.
5. Watch comedy classics
One of my favorite childhood memories is watching comedy classics i.e., silent moviesand cartoons. I love the good old fashioned, silliness and good for nothing humor. They brought out the best in me and made me have a good hearty belly laugh. I am also fascinated with digital / printed jokes, smart quips and one liner. No secret I prefer comedy sitcoms and movies filled with teachable moments.
Developing a sense of humor is an investment, it takes time and practice, the earlier you start the better. Don’t be so grumpy, grouchy, serious, gruff and show that your too big to have a good belly laugh every now and then. We all know it takes 17 muscles to smile and 47 to frown.
Open your home and your family up to humorous aspects of your life. Share family stories and history with a funny twist. Keep the environment in your home goofy, vibrant and witty. Look for opportunities to use your sense of humor to bring a smile to your family and lift them up when they are having a bad day. Teach them the art of humor, that it is ok to share & laugh at their mistakes and most embarrassing moments. Let them practice at home. A good laugh is sunshine in the home. It is a welcome breadth of fresh air, include it in your day.
Lead by example. Having a sense of humor shows that it’s okay to look stupid. Even if you look stupid, just laugh at yourself. And then smile because you tried something new outside of your comfort zone. You have plenty of material and will never run short, use your life’s funny moments and situations.
Good sense of humor is good old fashioned comfort food for the soul! I now leave you with this………
A pastor journeyed to heaven;
A cab driver followed him through;
The cab driver got a mansion;
The pastor got a lean-to.
“How come?” inquired the pastor,
“This seems like a charade.”
“They slept through your sermons,” said Peter;
“When he drove, his passengers prayed.”
By Joanna Fuchs