By Carrie Brazeal, TSB Contributor
When was the last time you had a good laugh? Not a giggle but a really good laugh. Bet it’s been a while. You know, laughter should be part of our lives every day. Laughter and humor are powerful tools that help us cope and get through threatening situations. Looking at life’s situations with a sense of humor and laughter helps keep things in balance when life seems unfair.
We often forget this when we’re caught up in the troubles and trauma of life. So the next time you’re feeling like you are losing control, allow yourself a little humor time. If you can find something that’s a little humorous in a situation, your upsets might not seem as important as they once did.
Here are some other reasons to include humor in your daily life from Ohio State University Extension:
Humor gives us a sense of power. There are many things in life that we have no control over and can’t change. As long as we have a sense of humor, we can do something. Humor helps us minimize the hold that upsets have over us and has the power to turn any situation around.
Humor helps us cope. A lot of the suffering and troubles we experience are not a result of our difficulties but how we view them. Using humor in difficult times can be one of the smartest ways of coping with them, easing our worries and getting on with life.
Humor helps establish communication and rapport. When you think about it, laughter knows no cultural boundaries. You don’t have to speak the same language to laugh together. Laughter also helps breaks the ice when you are in a group. It’s the one form of communication to which everyone can relate.
Humor relieves tension. When was the last time you were in a tense situation? Did someone break the tension by making a funny comment? Everyone probably felt instant relief. Humor dispels anger and aggression in us and others.
Humor increases learning and retention. Since laughing stimulates both sides of the brain, people learn faster and remember it longer. Humor is a great way to teach both children and adults.
Humor can be used as a diagnostic tool. If we listen carefully to a person’s humor, it can help us realize his or her fears and worries. When a person jokes around, he or she may be indirectly telling us about the things that are bothering him or her. Humor is often overlooked as a tool for gaining insight. The better adjusted we are and the more satisfying our lifestyle, the more readily we will respond to the humor in jokes, cartoons and everyday situations.
You can learn to share your laughter and help make others laugh. This doesn’t mean telling jokes unless that is one of your talents. It just means sharing your humorous perspective and giving others permission to do the same. A good sense of humor is something everyone can work on. It doesn’t just happen. Here are some suggestions to help you add more laughter to your life:
*Don’t worry or analyze why people laugh. Just participate.
*Think funny. Look for the humor in every situation. Learn to laugh at the incongruities in life.
*Keep a notebook of funny things and write in it daily.
*Use humor from any source. Personalize it and change it to suit your situation or the problem at hand.
Make humor a part of your everyday life. You will be glad that you did.
Carrie T. Brazeal is the County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972.548.4233 or metro 972.424.1460, Ext. 4233.