Nothing feels better than laughing. If you look back on the best of times you’ve had over the course of your life, it’s likely that most of them involved smiling and laughing and doing things that made you happy.
However, not every event or situation is laughable. People get sick or die. You face troubles at home or work, or you’re overwhelmed with obligations that really don’t make you feel good, let alone happy enough to laugh.
The Benefits of Humor
While it may be hard in certain circumstances to see the positive or funny side of life, there are many benefits of keeping your sense of humor, even when it proves to be very challenging. For example, have you ever been in a tense situation and had someone crack a joke?
Although it could admittedly backfire, a well-timed one liner has the ability to relieve a whole room full of tension. And, once everyone has a little laugh and chills out for a minute, the mood becomes a little lighter and productivity is likely increased as a result.
Humor also helps you cope. If you’re dealing with an extremely difficult situation, such as a chronic disease or potentially fatal illness, a little bit of laughter can make your days not quite so dreary. Life is more pleasurable when you keep positive and enjoy yourself despite the odds.
Not only does laughing benefit you, but it also helps those around you. It can pull them out of thinking about past regrets or future worries and keep them in the present by engaging in some funny story telling or doing something comical, it’s so much better.
Physically speaking, keeping the ability to enjoy life can help you live longer. People who spend more time laughing and enjoying themselves have fewer stress related problems that can lead to major health issues down the road.
Keeping the Humor Alive
So, how do you keep your sense of humor when you’re finding it hard to even smile? Follow these simple guidelines:
Look for the positive
Whether a situation is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is based entirely on your perception. If you believe it to be positive, it is. However, if you think it’s negative, then that too is true.
Some events are just tragic, from car accidents to the diagnosis of an illness to the mass shootings that seem to be occurring at too high a rate. While there’s nothing funny about them, if you continue to think about them and let them eat you alive, that is exactly what they’ll do.
Certainly, you’ll want to take time to heal and grieve when faced with something that has negative consequences. But, at some point you have to make yourself pick up and move on by searching for the positive in the situation.
It isn’t always easy to find, as you may have already figured out. But, if you look hard enough, you’ll see something that you can still be thankful despite the grim situation.
Maybe the horrible circumstance makes you appreciate family more and you’ve become closer as a result. Or perhaps through the tragedy you’ve made new friends. Whatever positive you can find, make sure you focus on that.
Don’t be afraid to let go of being serious for a minute or two
Just because it’s a tense situation, ask yourself what you have to lose by letting the seriousness go for a minute or two and having a chuckle to ease things up.
It’s like when you’re involved in a tense project at work and in the middle of a heated meeting someone says something funny. Releasing some of the emotion through laughter relieves the tension, like taking a lid off a pressure cooker. Things simmer down and you’re better able to get back to business.
Or if you’re at the hospital with someone you love and the room is quiet after being given some bad news and someone cracks a joke about rubber gloves. It takes the focus off what is happening and allows you time to collect your thoughts and put things in perspective.
Yes, you still have to deal with whatever is happening, but it’s a whole lot easier when you’re not trying to be serious all the time.
Give yourself permission to laugh
Humor isn’t a sin. It’s okay to laugh, even when the going is tough. Of course, you may not want to break out into a full hearted belly laugh after just being involved in a car accident, but some light humor to ease difficult circumstances isn’t going to hurt.
Sometimes you may feel like it’s not right to crack a joke or create a smile or two. You’re worried that it’s ‘wrong’ to keep your humor during grim situations so you don’t give yourself permission to lighten things up.
While it’s understandable to feel this way, no one says that your world can’t be enjoyable just because bad things happen. There’s no getting away from things that make you sad. That’s what makes life what it is.
But, you don’t have to keep that sadness alive any longer than it needs to be. Give yourself the right to enjoy things as much as possible, even when you wonder if it’s the right thing to do.
Life is short. One minute you’re in your early teens trying to figure out how to navigate through the world and the next minute you’re in your sixties wondering where the hell the time went.
When you look back on your years, what do you want to see? Do you want to have memories of sitting around worrying, sad and upset about the things that happened in your world or do you want visions of you and everyone around you laughing and enjoying yourselves?
Life is what you make of it. If you want a life that’s fulfilling and laced with good times, make it that way. Keeping your sense of humor is a great start!