A sense of humor is a great asset. When developing a sense of humor, being thankful is huge. Getting in the habit of being thankful helps you find spontaneous moments of laughter and mirth. The gratitude habit also helps
- lower your stress levels
- make it easier to interact with others in all kinds of situations.
- diffuse difficult situations by helping you see the humor.
- you to accept and adapt to difficult changes.
You don’t have to be funny to have a sense of humor—just having an attitude of willingness to see the lighter side of things, to appreciate humor, lowers stress and defuses tense situations, which makes it easier to interact with others.
Living with a TBI for well over a quarter of a century, I’ve experienced how much humor has done to stabilize me and want to help everyone understand how to recognize and develop their own, unique sense of humor.
Six Steps to Finding Your Funny
Finding humor is finding your funny bone. This is the first step—and probably one you’ve already got the answer to. There are various types of humor, from the witty humor of Mark Twain, to the physical humor of The Three Stooges, to the dark humor of George Carlin.
- Not all kinds of humor appeals to everybody, and some humor simply cannot be brought into everyday life. For example, making bad puns such as those inAirplane (“I’m not kidding, and don’t call me Shirley”) can be used anywhere, with the worst result being agonized groans, whereas reenacting the “Niagara Falls” bit from the Three Stooges—physically assaulting people—could get you hauled to the hoosegow.
Know the difference between being funny and having a sense of humor. Both are important, and it’s usually difficult to have one without the other—but it’s not impossible.
- Being funny means being able to express humor of one kind or another—maybe a pratfall, or a witty pun, or a good joke, well-timed. You do need to have a sense of humor to be funny.
- Having a sense of humor means being able to laugh at—or at least see the humor in—life’s absurdities. You do not need to be funny to have a sense of humor.
- Trying to be funny without a sense of humor is usually seen as bitter, sarcastic, and nasty. To cultivate a sense of humor, try and avoid this.
Four More Steps to Finding Funny
Understand context. What might be humorous, or even funny, could also be seen as clueless, or even tasteless, depending on the situation.
- When you told the latest blonde joke at the bar with your buddies (several rounds after beer thirty), they almost fell out of their stools laughing.
- Tell that same joke to your blonde date, and you’ll pretty much guarantee you’ll be watching Lucy reruns—by yourself—in about 1/2 hour.
Stay above the fray. To develop a sense of humor about things, try and stay objective. Much that we call humor is victim related: the guy who slips on a banana peel; the bartender in those endless “guy walks into a bar” jokes; or the poor schmo who says “Niagara Falls.”
- If you are that person who slipped on the banana peel and ended up in traction for six months, you might not find banana peel jokes funny at all. However, if you recognize the irony; are not above understanding that you, too, are fallible; and that you’re collecting a million-dollar settlement from the people who tossed the banana peel in your path, you’ll have found the humor in it after all!
- If you’re that blonde date in the above scenario, just laugh, knowing you just learned something that will help you avoid a terrible mistake. Alternately, you could say “Did you hear the one about the guy who had the best night of his life after telling his blonde date a blonde joke? No? What a coincidence, neither have I! Thanks for dinner, I have to go now.”
Lighten up. Some unexpected changes may seem too depressing to laugh at, but practice finding and appreciating the humor in a situation apparently void of humor can change your perspective, making you easier, or even pleasant, to be around.
Not everybody’s humor will be the same as yours, and what might tickle them to death might make you yawn, or even want to throw sharp objects in their general direction. Instead, find the humor in the situation. Maybe laugh at how sincere the would-be comedian is, or upon looking around the room, realizing you’re not alone in thinking chuckles is not as funny as he thinks.
- Even if you’re laughing at how lame their attempts at humor are, you’re still laughing. You win!
One Last Chance to Find Your Funny
Watch and learn. If you’ve already got a sense of humor, you know what makes you laugh. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you have a lot to learn! In either case, take in a funny movie, or a catch a You Tube clip once in a while. It might broaden your sense of humor, or help you define for yourself what you think is funny—or not. The worst that could happen is that you’ll laugh.