Noodle* on This…
People with a sense of humor tend to be less egocentric, more realistic in their view of the world, more humble in moments of success, and less defeated in times of travail. ~ Bob Newhart
Humor is a basic human need. We are hardwired for laughter. In fact, there is a branch of brain science called gelotology that studies the physiological and psychological aspects or humor and there are entire research organizations such as the International Society for Humor Studies (ISHS) dedicated to the study of humor. There is even laughter yoga. So, humor really is a very serious business!
Humor helps us relieve stress; build bonds with others; and improve our life satisfaction (aka well-being). Author Paul McGhee suggests that your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health. By humor, I do not mean aggressive humor, such as sarcasm, teasing or ridicule. I mean the type of humor in which we do not take ourselves too seriously, where we can find something to laugh about even in a bad situation.
Oscar Wilde wrote that life is too important to be taken seriously. When we can see the humor in a situation, we are less anxious about it. Humor gives us perspective so we can look at a problem or situation objectively. It also helps us be more creative reduces stress so we have the energy to deal constructively with difficult situations.
For example, my dog is a great source of humor for me. Just looking at him makes me smile. In fact, his photo is the screen saver on my computer and when I am feeling stressed or stuck in my writing, I take a break and spend time with him. Just watching him running around the yard chasing birds, butterflies and bugs, which he never catches, makes me laugh. And, after a few minutes I happily go back to my writing and suddenly, easily find the exact words I need.
Your Weekly Noodle Challenge…
I think the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it. ~ Frank Howard Clark
I work in a hospital and on a recent weekend evening I was in the Emergency Department waiting room. It was crowded but quiet with a sense of anxiety. A little old lady, wearing a very large cowboy hat and using a carved walking stick shuffled up to me, looked me straight in the eyes and announced I am 100 years old! I didn’t know what to say and blurted the first thing that popped into my mind, Well, you are just a sweet young thing. She started laughing and within a few seconds everyone who saw the exchange was laughing. I could feel the anxiety in the room decrease.
Think about a stressful situation, in hindsight what was funny about it? Share your experience with us in the Comments section below.
* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.
Image courtesy of Positive Health Online.