“People who have a sense of humor get through life more comfortably than those who don’t.” (Carl Reiner)
That was the quote that Jack used in a recent post to his Jack’s Winning Words blog.
Life without a sense of humor must be a mentally desolate place to live. There are certainly many things in life that are serious matters, but a life spent focused only upon only the dangers or sadness or anxiety in life is one that is usually shorter and much less satisfying than a life filled with humor and laughter. My wife and I often say in the midst of some calamity or setback that we’ll look back on this someday and laugh. Just saying that to each other is usually enough to lighten the moment.
The quick smile or laughter involved with turning something into a humorous thought is enough to break the grip of the tension that being too serious brings with it. You can actually feel your body letting go of the tension. Some people use other techniques, such as yoga to deal with that tension. It is the ability to refocus yourself away from the thoughts that are causing that tension that really makes them work.
There is an old bit of wisdom that states that when we are confronted with a threat or defensive response may be characterized as “fight or flight”. Do we turn to face and fight the threat or do we take flight to avoid it? Perhaps those with a good sense of humor find a way to get a laugh out of the situation. For them the situation may be defused by seeing the absurdity in it or in their reaction to it. How many times have you been frightened by a surprise happening, only to laugh at it, or your reaction to it, when you finally see that it is not the scary thing that you initially thought it was – like a baby with a Jack-in-the-box?
The death of a loved one or friend would seem to be the last place that one could find relief from grief through humor; yet, it is in the telling of stories, many of them recounting humorous events during the deceased one’s life, that we find comfort. Those stories of good times often involved things that were laughed at and enjoyed together.
People who can laugh at themselves are especially blessed because they can also forgive themselves. Being down on yourself all the time is a sure recipe for depression. We all make mistakes or do stupid things every now and then. Being able to step back and say to yourself, “boy, that was really stupid” and then having a good laugh at your own expense is a great way to let yourself off the hook and go on with life. Those who cannot do so are destined for a life of self-inflicted misery.
So, lighten up people. Find your sense of humor. Life is too short to spend it in a gloomy mood. Go to a mirror and make a funny face at yourself. Then say aloud, “Look at that dork!” Have a good laugh! That dork will be a happier person.