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Most of the Times People Aren’t Boring, They Just Lack a Sense of Humor

Most of the Times People Aren’t Boring, They Just Lack a Sense of Humor

Do you ever find yourself in a room full of people laughing at something someone said, only to realize you’re the only one apparently not in on the joke? It’s an interesting problem to have, and one not many people are aware of.

I’ve always been a smart-alec, it’s just in my blood. But I’ve definitely felt weird before when I say something clever and everyone laughs except one person. Did I offend them? Did they just not get the joke? Sometimes it could be that person doesn’t have a sense of humor.

Maybe you don’t find people to be all that funny. That’s okay. But studies have shown that having a sense of humor and laughing often can extend your lifespan. In fact, having a good sense of humor increases your chances of reaching retirement age. But after 70, those benefits can decrease. So until then, get to chuckling![1]

Laughter really is the best medicine!

It turns out that old cliche is an accurate one! In fact, learning to laugh more and loosen up can actually alleviate stress. Letting go of anger through laughter can help you release all that pent up anxiety and help you to be more balanced. This doesn’t just mean laughing at other people’s lame jokes or forcing yourself to smile when someone says something they deem witty; it also means laughing at yourself.

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In today’s world it can be so challenging to just let things roll off our backs and keep our heads up. But learning to laugh at our own mistakes can go a long way in helping us in our happiness.[2] When I feel stressed, I like to find a good pun, like this one:

    When you laugh at yourself, you radiate positivity.

    In 2011, a study was conducted to determine if laughing at ones self impacted character perception. Sixty-seven undergrads decided to rate their ability to laugh at themselves and had a couple witnesses come up with their own ratings. The undergrads essentially tricked the witnesses, as they took pictures of them as they filled out a questionnaire. The participants were shown numerous pictures later, including their own which had been wildly distorted and stretched. The photos were so distorted, in fact, that the participants didn’t recognize their own faces. While they rated the photos in terms of humor, they were filmed so the researchers could analyze their reactions to determine genuine happiness and smiles.[3]

    Although 80 percent of participants flashed a genuine smile at least once on seeing their own distorted image, it was those who claimed to be able to laugh at themselves, and whose peers agreed with this verdict, who showed more frequent and intense smiling and laughter in response to the distorted self-images, and fewer signs of fake smiles or negative emotion.

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    While no real correlation was determined between the ability to laugh at ones self and the amount of laughter triggered by the funny images of other peoples’ faces, there does seem to be evidence that proclivity for laughing at ones self really is a distinctive trait. So basically, don’t be so hard on yourself! You’ll like yourself more and be more enjoyable to others!

      There are actually many types of humor.

      Laugh-at-life humor. So far, we’ve really focused on the ability to laugh at yourself and at life. This is a specific type of humor that is usually related to not taking life too seriously. If you have this kind of humor, you probably know when to take a deep breath and let stress and anxiety melt away. There’s also a good chance you’re the friend people turn to for some positivity and motivation [4].

      Sarcastic humor: This is me. 100%. And if you’re also sarcastic, you have a dark, biting sense of humor and you’ve probably been told before that someone found you offensive. Sarcasm is usually associated with being quick-witted, and that can make it dangerous to speak without thinking. When people understand your brand of comedy, you’re golden. But when it comes to getting to know people, or wording an important work email, think before you speak/type.

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      Self-deprecating humor: This is a lot like laugh-at-life humor, but you’re basically always the root of the joke. You like to be the class clown, but too much of it can make people a little uncomfortable. There’s a line between dark and funny and dark and depressing.

      The giggles: A case of the giggles is typically suffered by kids and teens, but adults can certainly find themselves wheezing with laughter. Usually this is caused when something is so funny in a trifling way that you laugh and just can’t stop! This tends to happen to me pretty regularly, and I’m often the only person who thinks it’s as funny as it is![5]

      Highbrow/witty humor: I love having conversations with people who have this brand of wit. Basically, your jokes show intelligence. You catch on to the subtle allusions in movies and books and you’re careful to be witty but not a know-it-all.

      Bathroom humor: If you’re anything like me, you have a friend who sends you the poop emoji way too often. That friend has bathroom humor! If it’s gross, gory or mildly taboo, they think it’s the funniest thing they’ve ever heard. While these kinds of jokes can be hysterical, there’s a time and a place for crude jokes. Take it easy.

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      Jokes at others’ expense: You like to pick, prod and tease other people. This kind of humor walks a very fine line. After all, saying something bordeline cruel isn’t okay just because you say, “I’m kidding!” afterward. It’s okay to be sarcastic and give a friend a hard time, but make sure it’s not going to hurt them emotionally.

      Healing humor: This one’s important. This is the kind of laughter that is shared with someone, not aimed at them. When we laugh with others, we release frustration and stress. This can be a transformative experience and so very healing.

      Dry humor: This is one of my favorite types of humor, and I am so envious of those that have perfected it. Dry humor means having the ability to say something outrageous and funny but in an expressionless, matter-of-fact kind of way.[6]

      Everyone has their own brand of humor, you just have to find it.

      Unfortunately, you can’t just develop a sense of humor overnight, but luckily there’s a good chance you already have one. You may just not know how to allow yourself to laugh. Once you’ve determined what your brand of humor is, or at the very least believe you think you know what you want it to be, the tips below can help you grow your funny bone and get you giggling.

      • Laugh at others, but not in a hurtful way. When you laugh at something, it can sometimes be a domino effect. Allow yourself to laugh at any and everything you want, just avoid cruelty [7]!
      • Actively look for jokes every day! I know, I know, it sounds like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. So much humor is all around you if you’re only willing to look for it. If you can force yourself to be actively aware of all the silliness you encounter 24/7, soon you will be able to laugh passively [8].

        • Recognize the difference between being funny and having a sense of humor: If you’re funny, you can express humor. But if you have a sense of humor, you can laugh with others, too!
        • Take cues from those around you: What makes your family laugh? Your best friend? Try watching moves with all kinds of different humor to determine what makes you smile and laugh. And remember, the idea is to learn from people, not copy them.
        • Practice self-love. If you love yourself, you’ll be able to joke at yourself. Good-humored individuals embrace all their faults, and even openly laugh about them. If you can accept yourself for all the good and the bad, you’re that much closer to having a great sense of humor.[9]
        • Stay Healthy: Humor is beneficial both physically and emotionally. If you develop a better understanding of humor, you’ll be better at coping at everything from dealing with pain to easing your own stress. Giggling can actually stimulate organs and improve your immune system. Again, it really is the best medicine!

        Images courtesy of Kicking Cones

        Reference

        [1] Science Daily: A sense of humor helps keep you healthy until retirement age
        [2] Don Connelly: Learn to Laugh at Yourself when It Is Called for
        [3] Research Digest: The first ever experimental investigation of laughing at oneself
        [4] Lauren Ware: The 10 Different Types of Humor
        [5] Psy Central: 7 Kinds of Humor and What They Mean
        [6] Daily Writing Tips: 20 Types and Forms of Humor
        [7] http://www.rd.com/funny-stuff/sense-of-humor/
        [8] http://www.wikihow.com/Have-a-Sense-of-Humor
        [9] HuffPost: 6 Signs You Have A Good Sense Of Humor

        More by this author

        Heather Poole

        Heather shares about everyday lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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        Last Updated on October 30, 2019

        How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

        How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

        Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

        In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

        Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

        You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

        What is the Stages of Change Model?

        Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

        Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

        Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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          The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

          The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

          The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

          The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

          1. Precontemplation
          2. Contemplation
          3. Determination
          4. Action
          5. Maintenance
          6. Termination

          How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

          To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

            Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

            Stage 1: Precontemplation

            At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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            For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

            Stage 2: Contemplation

            At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

            You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

            The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

            Stage 3: Preparation

            At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

            Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

            Stage 4: Action

            When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

            Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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            Stage 5: Maintenance

            After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

            Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

            Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

            Stage 6: Termination

            Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

            However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

            How long does each stage take?

            You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

            So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

            The limitations of this model

            The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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            Require the ability to set a realistic goal

            For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

            If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

            Difficult to judge your progress

            The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

            Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

            Conclusion

            The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

            While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

            Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Psych Central: Stages Of Change
            [2] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
            [3] Empowering Change: Stages of Change
            [4] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
            [5] Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
            [6] The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
            [7] Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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