Monday, January 21, 2008

What Makes You Laugh?

Happier squircle by tj scenes

Everyone wants to enjoy a good sense of humor and a playful attitude, but how does one begin? If you don’t laugh often, or have a mindset that says humor is something that can only be indulged in after the hard work is done, you may need a little help to begin. But almost everyone can learn to add more pleasure, fun and playfulness to their day.

You can start by identifying what makes you laugh. Make a list of your favorite funny movies, comedians, cartoons, and commercials. Perhaps you’re a slapstick kind of person, drawn to the Three Stooges, SNL stars like Chris Farley, or one Mr. Wile E. Coyote, dastardly foe of the speedy Roadrunner.

Maybe you enjoy spoof comedies like Airplane or Hot Shots. Perhaps you have a favorite columnist or author who excels in witty commentary or sarcastic jokes. You might enjoy the off-key hilarity from the next crop of delusional contestents to audition on American Idol. Whatever your taste, there is something out there for everyone. You only need to identify the type of humor you enjoy. Here’s a list of different types of humor to get you thinking.

It’s also important to know what kind of humor you dislike. If you love Adam Sandler but find Jackass star Johnny Knoxville offensive, it will help you choose what to watch and what to skip. Do you love Mad TV’s celebrity impersonations, or are the exaggerated stereotypes from NBC’s The Office more your style? Finding the types of humor you enjoy is a key factor to increasing your appreciation for fun.

Most of all, approach humor with an open mind. Read the newspaper for inadvertently funny headlines. Skip down the hall when you go to the restroom. Leave a humorous message on your answering machines. When you relax and let go, the possibilities are endless.

Here are a few great humor techniques:

  • Wear a clown nose during your drive home from work.
  • Visit your local comedy club once a month.
  • Buy a great cartoon book like The Far Side, Calvin & Hobbes, or Peanuts. Read often.
  • Get a humor ally. Find a friend who enjoys the same type of humor as you do.
  • Get some humor toys; a super bouncy ball, a Scooby Doo figure, some juggling balls, the Shrek soundtrack or a CD from your favorite comedian.

Be open and enjoy the process. Don’t expect instant results. Here is my own confession; when I first started playing with humor, I often hid it from other people. I would sing alone in my car, dance in my bedroom with blinds drawn and door shut, and my funny file was in the bottom drawer at work where no one could see it.

Now I’m a little more public about my fun side, but I’m still not as free as I’d like to be. I still worry about what people will think of me. Sometimes I still sink into my chair when I spill something on my new shirt or when I’m caught dancing to music while I shop. But little by little I’m getting better.

I’d love to hear your story. To help you get started with your journey into fun, here are a few great sites:

Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter

Benefits of Humor in Healthcare

Chief Happiness Officer (Being Happy at Work)

500 Fun Things To Do

1 comment:

Patricia Singleton said...

America's Funnies Videos makes me laugh. I watch it several times a week on TV. Laughter is always good for you.