The Many Faces of Humor

Hearing a good joke or laughing at life brings ease to our days and closeness to others. We are naturally attracted to and seek out people who make us happy. Humor is a strong leadership and communication skill. When humor is done right, it reduces stress, promotes creativity and builds connectivity within social groups and work teams.

Humor helps our bodies.

Stress is no joke. Unhappiness in the United States comes at a really high cost. In fact, stress research indicates it is one of the six leading causes of death. Billions of dollars are spent on foods, vitamins, workshops, therapy, drugs and exercise on the pursuit of stress-free living. It is said that laughing is the fastest and most dependable way of turning off the stress button. And it's free!

Humor opens our minds.

Humans are built with the innate capacity to create and be creative. Laughter gives our controlling, confused and chaotic brains a rest. Flow and focus effortlessly show up as we step more into our imagination.

Humor lightens our hearts. 

Laughing time is not a waste of time, especially in the workplace. Humor breaks up awkward and challenging situations throughout the day. When I worked at the cancer center, humor opened up broken hearts, physical pain and distress. Patients and loved ones need and depend on humor to get through cancer's messy moments. As staff, humor helped us cope with non-stop work demands and losses.

When humor is done right, it reduces stress, promotes creativity and builds connectivity within social groups and work teams.

Some Do's and Don'ts on sharing and promoting healthy humor at home and work:

Yes:

Use universal humor. Jerry Seinfeld and Friends were highly successful TV sitcoms looking at the quirky side of life and relationships.

Avoid jokes targeting a specific group of people such as those of different ethnic/racial backgrounds. This can be a tough one to practice.  If you think you're crossing a humor line, you probably are. Apologize if necessary.

If someone starts a joke and you sense it veering off, it may be best not to stay for the punch line. At some point, tell the jokester the joke was not acceptable or appreciated. Otherwise, the jokester will continue to joke in this manner.

No:

Don't laugh at anyone because of the way they dress, wear their hair and eat their food. Gossip is hurtful and harmful. 

Don't continually make yourself the butt of jokes. This is a sign of low self-esteem and insecurity. If you know the comedian Rodney Dangerfield, you will get my drift.

Don't use sarcasm. People are super-sensitive. Why go through the effort of trying to be funny in your eyes only? Sarcasm can be interpreted in unexpected ways.

Join Rita for two workshops on workplace humor. Workshops are for social workers, counselors and psychologists. 3 CEUs are available per course.