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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

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        Heather Poole

        Technical writer

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        Published on November 28, 2018

        How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

        How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

        The woman in yoga pants sitting in a lotus position atop a rocky cliff, overlooking a valley draped in fog — this is the glamorized version of meditation you’ll come across as you search. Yet if you’re seeking meditation to calm your mind, a fantastic setting with no distractions is rarely available.

        So how to do meditation?

        The truth about meditation is it’s an everyday practice for anybody. You could be a mountain climber or you could be an accountant — either way, your home is just as good a place for meditation as any.

        Are you seeking to corral your racing thoughts and relieve a sense of unease, awkwardness, or uncertainty? Look to home meditation to cultivate a laid-back, creative, confident, and organized frame of mind. According to extensive scientific research, meditation relieves stress and anxiety, decreases blood pressure, improves sleep, and improves your ability to pay attention. [1]

        From start to finish, this article will give you quick, easy steps to follow so that you can meditate at home regularly. You’ll begin by assessing, identifying and altering things that need to change in your home environment. You’ll end by understanding the basics of meditation so that you can let yourself do what you already know how to do deep down in the hidden reality of your mind.

        You’re ready to let your mind be, and just be, in your own home — let’s begin.

        1. Find the Right Space in Your Home

        Where is your right space for meditation at home? Is it in your basement, your bedroom, your living room, or your study?

        The right space will be one with the least distractions built in to its purpose. In that case, it may be your bedroom. If you’ve set up your bedroom to be a place for sleep and only sleep, it will lend itself well to meditation.

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        The right space will also be a reasonably spacious one. Although comfort is not your goal, you need room to sit. Choose a space that is private, spacious, and quiet. If you don’t have a space in your home like this, create one. Free it from clutter and get it ready for you to meditate there any time.

        Ultimately, your right space is one you feel comfortable meditating in, the space you can enter with no other expectations.

        2. Improve the Feng Shui in Your Home and Meditation Space

        Feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement.[2]

        Feng shui improves harmony with nature. Adherents to the principles of feng shui believe all things have energy (chi). The focus of feng shui is to send negative chi (sha) out of the space and attract positive chi (yun).

        Here’s the truth about feng shui: it’s not complicated or hard. The following will influence feng shui positively in your home and meditation space:

        • Living things, such as plants
        • Beautiful objects, such as sculptures or even a well-polished piece of driftwood
        • Mirrors in symmetrical placement with the lines in a room
        • Mellifluous sounds, such as trickling water or wind chimes
        • Furniture away from walls
        • A centerpiece, such as a small table with books or an ornate lamp on it
        • Incense or something else that smells good
        • A lack of clutter and an attention to organization that emphasizes the usefulness, purpose, and essential being of each item in your house

        Given that feng shui is connected to Taoism and Buddhism, it will complement the meditative atmosphere you want to cultivate in your home.

        3. Eliminate Pervasive Distractions That Can Harm Your Wellbeing

        In part, meditation is about accepting the existence of distractions. When you meditate, you don’t judge and assign a positive or a negative value to distractions — the ticking of a clock, an itch, the barking of a dog — you let them occur and let them dissipate like waves.

        However, in the same way that feng shui removes objects that attract negative chi, there are certain types of distractions that don’t belong in your meditative space. You must remove them.

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        In a survey of 1,700 people who visited social media sites at least 30 times per week, 30 percent reported high levels of sleep disturbance and 25 percent presented symptoms of depression. [3]

        Those individuals who experience sleep disturbances or mental health issues due to social media are not setting boundaries between themselves and their connected devices.

        Part of learning how to meditate at home is learning how and when to set boundaries between yourself and your connected devices and social media accounts. If you need your phone for a timed meditation practice, but you normally receive social media notifications on your phone, set it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode during your meditation time.

        4. Flow into Meditation Through Time

        Next, set aside a time for meditation each day. It’s right to be structured and disciplined about your meditation time.

        Buddhist monks whose lives revolve around meditation are very structured and organized with their tasks each day. Structure provides the balance your being needs. Once you are meditating, your mind has no need for time. Outside of your given meditation time, you are completing tasks essential to the wellbeing of yourself and your home.

        Consider meditating as the sun rises. This is a quiet and contemplative time of the day when it is natural to set your day’s balance through meditation.

        5. Recognize the Rightness of Doing Nothing

        At home, you’re probably used to always doing something. When you do meditation at home, you are being, which is doing something and nothing simultaneously.

        Maryville University points out that successful people unplug by doing nothing. [4] Not only this, but they set the right expectations for the time during which they will do nothing.

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        We oftentimes look forward to the future by expecting something to happen and by expecting something of ourselves. To meditate from home, look to that time and that space by expecting nothing. You will not do any chores. You will not catch up on work. You will do nothing but meditate for a certain amount of time each day.

        This might sound crazy, but in taking on meditation from home, you’re not expecting yourself to improve and become a better person. As Ram Dass put it, you are expecting yourself to be here now.

        6. Choose from the Incredible Variety of Meditative Practices

        As I outlined in my post on types of meditation, there are many different and not-so-different types of meditation from which to choose.

        Many beginners find it right to choose guided meditation, for which there are apps, videos, and audio tapes available.

        If you are not necessarily a beginner but are merely moving your meditative practice into the home, you can facilitate a practice such as Nada Yoga — sound meditation — by placing a fountain in your space or listening to ambient alpha wave music.

        If you’re used to meditating outside of your home — perhaps you are drawn to the outdoors because of the sounds of nature — a practice like Nada Yoga can help you transition into your home space.

        7. Understand You Can Meditate Any Time at Home

        What if I told you to throw out all of the tips that came before this? Sounds crazy but that is how radical mindfulness meditation really is. We don’t think of it as radical because it is now ingrained in our popular discourse.

        Mindfulness meditation does start as a sitting meditation practice. It goes like this:

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        1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
        2. Focus on breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale slowly.
        3. As distracting thoughts arise, don’t judge them and don’t hang onto them. Let each thought go as you focus on breathing.
        4. Treat all physical sensations and feelings in the same way you do thoughts: register them, then let them go, returning to breathing.
        5. Extend this practice to everyday activity, remaining “in the moment” of the body’s activity with each new breath.

        As you practice mindfulness around your home, note the physical characteristics of the things in themselves. Note physical sensations: sounds, smells, textures, appearances, tastes. Stop now and then and do a body scan from head to toe, noting what each section is doing and how it’s feeling.

        Note thoughts that come and the emotions attached to them: let them go. Concentrate on the breath and the physical activities — including the details of the objects with which you’re interacting.

        You’ll notice that your home will lend itself to a meditative state when things are in order. This is where true feng shui originates. You will naturally sense how the arrangement of things affects the energy in a room.

        Clutter will disappear because mindfulness tells you to dispose of unnecessary things. Plants will bloom. Birds will make their nests in your backyard. Your home will smell pleasing and people will naturally be attracted to it and your presence.

        You’ve Reached the Beginning and the End

        Once you are able to do mindfulness meditation even as you are attending to the normal and abnormal requirements of your home, the mundane and the unusual, you are at both the beginning and the end.

        You are at the beginning because meditation never ends. Continue setting aside time each day to do sitting meditation in the space you’ve set aside. Continue practicing mindfulness as you attend to the energy of your house, your own energy, and the energy of those around you.

        You are at the end because you grasped what it means to do meditation at home: it means letting go of cares and concerns and being in your home as you attend to the right tasks. The right tasks are those necessary for being in your home.

        As you sit in your home, rise, open the door and you leave, you are calm in your mind because you are home.

        Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1]Healthline: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
        [2]Marquette University: Feng Shui: The Wind and Water
        [3]Rutgers University: Social Media and Well-Being
        [4]Maryville University: How Successful People Unplug

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