Humor Is A Great Tool If We Know How To Take Advantage Of It

Many times we focus on how to reduce negative emotions, waging real battles in favor of this flag, and not always with the most appropriate strategies. We try to learn to relax. We want to know tricks on how to control our anger. When we are sad, we would like to stop feeling like this … However, when do we worry about enhancing positive emotions? Why don’t we change going against … to going for …?

In fact,  improving our relationship with positive emotions will help negative ones not love us so much. One way to achieve this effect is by promoting the balanced use of humor in our daily lives. But it seems easier said than done, right? I invite you to continue reading to learn some exercises to help us in this task… Let’s laugh!

“Everything has its measure, just like every situation has its procedure. Laughter has its place, just like crying; the smile has its moment, just like his severity has “

-Al Yâhiz-

Why is it interesting to use humor?

We all have some better days and some worse. It’s normal, right? In fact, in certain situations it is necessary for negative emotions to appear. If something happens that is unfair to us, for example, we are going to get angry; from anger we will get the information and energy to defend ourselves and try to solve the problem.

If this anger did not appear, it would be more difficult if we could give a quick and forceful response. The same happens with the rest of emotions: they fulfill a series of functions, both positive and negative. The crux of the matter is finding a balance so that negative emotions are not too intense or too frequent or too long-lasting.

For this, a great resource is humor. In fact, joy and laughter are part of our day to day. They help us when facing complex or conflict situations, since they help us reduce the tension that can be triggered at first, in which anxiety or anger are greater.

“Lucidity teaches us that everything that is not tragic is laughable. And humor adds, with a smile, that it is not a tragedy … The truth of humor is this: the situation is desperate, but not serious “

-André Comte-Sponville-

Humor come to me!

Once the theory is known, let’s move on to practice. What can we do to change our emotional state to a more joyful one? A very simple first exercise that we have all done would be to watch a movie. But not just any. It should be upbeat and entertaining, or at least contain scenes that encourage seeing the funny side of setbacks.

When we are down or sad, seeing that other people are able to find that humorous part of the situation helps us learn, at the same time that we disconnect from the tension that we have above. Finally, it would be a good idea to watch the movie together.

In this way, we can comment on it when it is finished, as well as relate it to events that have happened to us, but in a more distant way. It will make it easier for us to see it from another perspective, minimizing the intensity of that negative emotion.

What to do to balance our use of humor?

Finally, we are going to propose two exercises. The first is good for us when it is difficult for us to use humor. The idea is to be able to increase it in those setbacks that arise to all of us, so that we laugh at it instead of getting angry or overwhelmed. For this, we can imagine the laughter in the background in the same way in which they appear in the comic series on television.

“The sense of humor consists of knowing how to laugh at one’s own misfortunes”

-Alfredo Landa-

The other exercise is for when we use humor indiscriminately, being rude or inappropriate. The objective will be that we know how to select the moments in which to use it with self-control, empathy, social intelligence and perspective. For this, we are going to take paper and a pen and  make a list of those situations in which we have used humor and we have seen that others did not like them or were uncomfortable.

Then we will analyze the pattern common to the different moments in which this has happened. Thus, we can find out what happens to us when we meet people, when trying to break the ice, when the situation is tense, etc. Once we have discovered what we use it for in an inappropriate way, we can look for other adaptive coping strategies for different situations such as empathizing or using active listening.

By starting these simple exercises we will be able to find the balance in our use of humor. In this way, we are going to ensure that we use it appropriately to manage different situations and to regulate our emotions, thus finding emotional stability. In short, we will acquire a powerful tool to enhance our well-being!

Images courtesy of Frank McKenna, Katie Treadway, and Nik MacMillan.

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