We're still moving forward on our #Go52 Challenge; an opportunity for us to reflect on 52 different topics throughout the year of 2018. This week's theme is: humorous.
My hope is that you have been able to find the humor that exists in most situations.
So often we take life super serious, because - let's face it, life is heavy. We're talking about the state that is your presence here on Earth; the period between birth and whatever happens after death. Life. Is. Serious. So too, are many of the events we experience between our entry (birth) and exit (well, you know); celebrations of life, health challenges, the uniting of lives, the dividing of lives, promotions, demotions, et cetera, et cetera. It's heavy business people.
The challenge we tend to encounter is finding a decent balance between the good and the character testing experiences, the heart-lifting and the heart wrenching events.
It is tough to keep the scales even, but there is one thing that can tip us towards a more lighthearted direction. Humor.
In psychology, humor has been studied by many researchers, many of whom have found that it can be used for bonding, entertainment, releasing tension, and assistance in coping. While it can't change the situation at hand, it can offer an avenue to help deal with some of the more stressful situations we encounter. Humor offers an alternative perspective during those moments when we might feel stuck in a more abysmal reality.
Laughed lately? Let's try a joke on for size:
Did you chuckle? laugh? Did your body feel heavier or lighter during and after? The next time you laugh, pay attention to the way you feel afterward. I bet you feel more joyous. Laughter is good for your soul, and humor is a vehicle to transport us there.
So laughter is good, and humor is a cab. How do we add more of it (humor) in our lives?
3 Quick Ways to a More Humorous Life
Pay Attention to the Details and Choose the Funny: I once found myself giggling in the car on my commute home. I'm sure to the other passengers I might have looked a bit off. But after an arduous day at work, I ended up as cabbie for a grasshopper that decided to catch a ride on my windshield as I left the parking lot. My commute home took me through a college campus at slow speeds, city streets at a decent clip, and eventually onto the interstate at highway speeds. I wasn't sure how long it would hold on, but I watched as the grasshopper's stance morphed from relaxed to surfing to "Holy crap, hold on!" Here I was, leaving a rough day behind within minutes, and all because of a tiny grasshopper. I even found myself rooting it on in spite of the dirty looks that I think it threw my way. By paying attention to this one seemingly random detail instead of all of the other struggles I had encountered that day, AND by choosing to see it as funny instead of, "I wish this ole bug would get off my car," I had - if only for a moment, effectively released stress. Humor helps.
Laugh at Yourself: For a lot of people that meet me, I would assume they believe me to be pretty serious. Some have even told me so after our initial encounter. My guess is that it's mostly because I'm pretty quiet (READ: not shy or timid) and my resting face is almost always unreadable. Funny thing is, I'm really a big goober; an intelligent goober, but a goofy soul nonetheless. Transparent fact about my life: I once tripped up some stairs (in uber-dramatic fashion) in high school. No lie. It was after lunch and we had just been released early from the cafeteria to get to our lockers before passing period. I was heading up the stairwell and behind me, a tall & lanky upperclassmen was talking to someone else instead of paying attention to where he was walking. I had reached the last step before the second floor landing when his long foot clipped the back of my heel, preventing it from raising the entire height of said step. So, instead of clearing that final step, I smacked my toe into the front of it, which caused me to fall forward onto the floor - tossing the papers and books that I had been carrying across both sides of the hallways, and immediately dropping my glasses to the end of my nose. All of this, just as the bell rang and the hallway began to flood with students from each classroom. The timing was perfect. There I was on my hands and knees, looking up over the top of my glasses at the mess that was my stuff. Most teenagers would have been mortified. Me? I laughed. As classmates and the poor guy behind me hustled to corral my things before they were trampled, someone stooped down to see if I was okay. I can only assume they saw my shoulders shaking from behind and thought I was in distress. The truth was, I had envisioned the entire scene from a different "camera angle" as it all played out, and all I could do was laugh as I thanked those who helped. In laughing at myself, many things happened. The most important one is that a potentially stressful situation was diffused, all thanks to humor. Humor saves.
Focus on the Funny: In both situations, I made a choice to focus my energy in the direction of the humorous elements that existed. I could have chosen the opposite, but in those situations there wasn't a thing in the past that focusing on the negative could change. It had already happened. Granted, those situations weren't nearly as heavy as some of the events that life throws our way. But humor can still be of help even when the scales begin to tip in heavy favor of grief. In instances where it is harder to focus on the funny, we have to remember that appropriate humor does not negate our respect for a situation. In grieving the loss of a family member, each of us almost instantly began to share the funniest moments we could recall. Doing so did not completely remove the pain of departure, but it did give us a reason to smile in a time when tears were a fixture on many of our faces. It was the starting point of our individual journeys of grief, which all look very different. Humor heals.
I firmly believe that life is what we make of it. We can actively choose to feed the scale of despair or we can seek out an alternative. Opting to infuse more humor can potentially increase the amount of joy we hold in our hearts. Doing that could alter the way we treat each other, and what a wonderful world it would be if there were more joyous souls traversing this earth.
How do you seek humor? Let's create a running list together!
Remember to share your illustrations or reflections with us. Go be great! #Go52