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!
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.
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. 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.
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.
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 .
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 !
- 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 .
- 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.
- 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
|||^||Science Daily: A sense of humor helps keep you healthy until retirement age|
|||^||Don Connelly: Learn to Laugh at Yourself when It Is Called for|
|||^||Research Digest: The first ever experimental investigation of laughing at oneself|
|||^||Lauren Ware: The 10 Different Types of Humor|
|||^||Psy Central: 7 Kinds of Humor and What They Mean|
|||^||Daily Writing Tips: 20 Types and Forms of Humor|
|||^||HuffPost: 6 Signs You Have A Good Sense Of Humor|