Whether you like to fancy yourself the designated class clown, or whether you’d rather count yourself as preferring to take in the humor of life unfolding under your very eyes and give out a reasonably audible chuckle, laughter has been deemed as truly one effective method of easing both the physical and the emotional pains we might come across from time to time. Some people however are much less comfortable with either of the two scenarios briefly described above.
“Affiliative (the humor of everyday life), aggressive (‘the bully’ of these types), self-enhancing (the one where you feel fine to poke a bit of fun at yourself for being merely human), and the self-defeating type of humor (the one where you turn aggression against your own self).”
Some tend to feel offended whenever ridicule accidentally touches upon their carefully manicured image, while others like to persist in being the grumpy sour puss personas they’ve made a habit of resorting to at all times. Sure, there are roughly as many types of humor as there are people, but for the sake of keeping this article relatively stress-free, let’s just remember to name the four broad categories with which we most certainly have something in common with: affiliative (the humor of everyday life), aggressive (‘the bully’ of these types), self-enhancing (the one where you feel fine to poke a bit of fun at yourself for being merely human), and the self-defeating type of humor (the one where you turn aggression against your own self).
Although it would be well worth our time to take a closer look at these four types of humor and the ways in which they may be used as both ways of relating to the outside world and as tools of self-inquiry, perhaps the place to start would be to see how humor in general is useful in dealing with much more common occurrences.
Laughing in the face of life’s annoyances
Unexpected things cause interruptions at all times. Objects get misplaced, keys get forgotten, your favorite potato chips run out at the most inopportune of times, and you know, as well as I do, that this list could very well go on for a while. Changes of all kinds occur when you least expect it, but that’s no crying matter. In fact, one of the easiest ways of learning to come to terms with not only what you may now perceive as your own shortcomings (although in reality it’s the quirks of who we are that make life spicy caliente) but of life’s forever changing guises is to get used to seeing the silliness and randomness around us.
“Although challenging events are bound to cross our paths at least once throughout our entire lifetimes, being prepared with comical retorts and a dash of silliness in the face of this universe’s life-altering curveballs can only be helpful.”
Laughing in the face of life’s more serious matters
Now let’s think about it strategically. Although challenging events are bound to cross our paths at least once throughout our entire lifetimes, being prepared with comical retorts and a dash of silliness in the face of this universe’s life-altering curveballs can only be helpful. In fact, it might put you one step closer to accepting the consequences brought on by whatever shape those curveballs might take.
Let’s move closer to the realm of the mind-numbingly funny. Ever found yourself at the very sharp end of irony or sarcasm’s biting words? Ever felt embarrassed to have something completely laughter-worthy happen in front of an audience made up of complete strangers, your bosses’ or your crush’s eyes? Then, my friend, there is only one solution that’ll get you out of trouble, while maintaining your alleged cool and that is knowing how to recognize the funniness of the situation and just go with it. Trust me, you are going to be much better off doing that instead of stamping your feet on the ground and leaving in a tornado of tears. No future nightmares to think about when insomnia hits! Of course this is a very silly way of saying that humor is a perfectly refreshing aid in your emotional health toolkit.
“One dose of hearty laughter for 10 minutes each day seems to equal a half-hour mini-workout*.”
Giggling your way to physical health
Here are a few practical instances where laughter has been scientifically proven to alleviate pain and increase goodness levels thorough out your entire system: blood pressure levels get lowered, your heart runs lower risks of heart attacks, laughter increases deep-breathing, stimulates both of the brain’s hemispheres, reduces pain, induces muscle relaxation, boosts up the immune system and gets rid of those pesky stress hormones. Clearly, laughing beats going to the doctor’s, or to the gym for that matter (well, not quite, but still). One dose of hearty laughter for 10 minutes each day seems to equal a half-hour mini-workout*.
“Feeling anxious in some social instance, laughing will provide the perfect bridge between yourself and all others.”
Let those pearly whites shine bright for others to see
For one thing, laughter has been shown, as we have probably already experienced, to be contagious. So, feeling anxious in some social instance, laughing will provide the perfect bridge between yourself and all others. It can take even the most boring of situations and ease the tension in the room, especially when laughter shared in a group, is a sign of being accepted by and being accepting of others, thus making even the simple act of smiling as one powerful social connector.
As a final point, laughter is one easy, cheap and fun way of getting out of any blue slumps you might find yourself to have slipped into. For that matter, you can always help others get out of theirs through the same means. Laughing makes life easier from whatever point you may be standing and helps you connect with yourself and others in a really silly way. Go on, try it!