On this Wisdom Note, it is time to head back out on our humor trail and discover some interesting ways to establish the habit of humor in our lives. You will find that as you implement these humor nuggets into your life, you will become a funnier and happier person in all that you do. You will be better able to enjoy the rich and satisfying life that you were meant to have.
1. Bring more humor and laughter into your life.
We are all born with the ability and desire to laugh. Laughter is your birthright, a natural part of life that is innate and inborn. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born. Even if you did not grow up in a household where laughter was a common sound, you can relearn to laugh at any stage of life. It is truly a habit that you can re-form in your life.
Begin by setting aside special times to seek out humor and laughter, as you might with working out and build from there. Eventually, you’ll want to incorporate humor and laughter into the fabric of your life, finding it naturally in everything you do.
Here are some ways to start to weave humor into the fabric of who you are:
- Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. Pioneers in “laugh therapy,” find it’s possible to laugh without even experiencing a funny event. The same holds true for smiling. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling.
- Count your blessings. Literally, make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When you’re in a state of sadness, you have further to travel to get to humor and laughter.
- When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s funny?”
- Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily – both at themselves and at life’s absurdities – and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.
- Bring humor into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?”
- Create your own opportunities to laugh. Did you ever stop to see why all modern day sitcoms on TV have a continuous “laugh track” embedded into the show? It subconsciously initiates the laugh center within your mind. It allows you to enjoy the program more, and for it to appear funnier than it really is. Have you ever tried watching a sitcom or program without the “laugh track”? It is a lot less humorous.
- Seek out opportunities of enjoyment. We have to intentionally seek out opportunities for humor and laughing. Make it a habit to form your humor habit by deliberately finding humor in everyday life.
King Solomon understood this when he wrote Ecclesiastes 8:15, “So I recommend having fun because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.”
2. Develop your sense of humor. Take yourself less seriously.
One essential characteristic that helps us laugh is not taking ourselves too seriously. We’ve all known the classic tight-jawed sourpuss who takes everything with deathly seriousness and never laughs at anything. No fun there!
Some events are clearly sad and not occasions for laughter. But, most events in life don’t carry an overwhelming sense of sadness or delight. They fall into the gray zone of ordinary life, giving you the choice to laugh or not.
Here are some suggested ways to infuse humor into everyday situations:
- Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take yourself less seriously is to talk about times when you took yourself too seriously. It is okay to look like a fool occasionally as long as you don’t make a habit of being foolish.
- Attempt to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them. Look for the humor in a bad situation, and uncover the irony and absurdity of life. This will help improve your mood and the mood of those around you.
- Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a toy on your desk or in your car. Put up a funny poster in your office. Choose a computer screensaver that makes you laugh. Frame photos of you and your family or friends having fun.
- Keep things in perspective. Many things in life are beyond your control — particularly the behavior of other people. While you might think taking the weight of the world on your shoulders is admirable, in the long run it’s unrealistic, unproductive, unhealthy, and even egotistical.
- Deal with your stress. Stress is a major impediment to humor and laughter.
Pay attention to children and emulate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing.
3. Use humor and play to overcome challenges and enhance your life.
The ability to laugh, play, and have fun with others not only makes life more enjoyable but also helps you solve problems, connect with others, and be more creative. People who incorporate humor and play into their daily lives find that it renews them and all of their relationships.
Life brings challenges that can either get the best of you or become playthings for your imagination. When you “become the problem” and take yourself too seriously, it can be hard to think outside the box and find new solutions. But, when you play with the problem, you can often transform it into an opportunity for creative learning.
Playing with problems seems to come naturally to children. When they are confused or afraid, they make their problems into a game, giving them a sense of control and an opportunity to experiment with new solutions. Interacting with others in playful ways helps you retain this creative ability.
As laughter, humor, and play become an integrated part of your life, your creativity will flourish and new discoveries for playing with friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and loved ones will occur to you daily. Humor takes you to a higher place where you can view the world from a more relaxed, positive, creative, joyful, and balanced perspective. Weave the habit of laughter and humor into the fabric of every day life.