“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.”
– George Bernard Shaw.
Humour is a universal human trait and even people who don’t speak the same language can share a good laugh. We also seem to share this skill with our Ape cousins. As long as it’s not the aggressive, sarcastic and derogatory type, humour is a powerful remedy against anxiety and depression, particularly if you’re coping with big life challenges like the plague, political speeches or no signal on your phone.
In The Book of Joy, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, talk about humour as one of the pillars of joy and indeed their meeting is full of moments of laughter and jokes. Douglas Abrams, who documents these meetings, explains that the words humour, humility and humanity all have the same Latin root: humus (earth/soil, not the dip) and he explains how these are linked: you need to have a sense of humility to be able to laugh at yourself and this reminds you of your shared humanity.
WHY IS IT GOOD?
Although we all experience the immediate positive effects of humour, it’s only been in the past few decades that scientists have taken a real interest in researching its effects. Martin Seligman, founder of Positive Psychology, considers it as one character strength and provides ideas to develop it further and positively. Humour also:
Improves social relationships and helps us connect with others.
Can help people grieve: Dacher Keltner and colleagues found that people who spontaneously experienced amusement and laughter when discussing a deceased spouse showed better emotional adjustment in the years following the spouse's death.
People who have good sense of humour are perceived as more attractive.
Laughter - especially a hearty laugh - has been shown to benefit your circulation, vagal tone, lungs and muscles (especially those around the belly area) and it also helps people deal with pain and physical adversity.
Another study run by Lee Berk and Stanley A. Tan at Loma Linda University found it helps the immune system and reduces the levels of three stress hormones (cortisol, epinephrine and dopac).
And as we all know, it can always smooth an awkward situation.
Set the intention to laugh more and take life more lightly.
Practice laughing at yourself more.
If you struggle to find humorous things around you, read or watch something funny to kick start your mood.
Do more of what makes you laugh.
Surround yourself by people with good sense of humour.
JOIN THE KENSHO LIFE
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