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Developing and Maintaining a Sense of Humor for Stress Relief

Updated on August 24, 2014
Use your sense of humor....that's a fire to keep warm by....(smile)
Use your sense of humor....that's a fire to keep warm by....(smile) | Source

"Sense of humour - the trait of appreciating (and being able to express) the humorous" that's from thefreedictionary.com ... so you don't have to be a comedian or a TV personality to have a genuine sense of humor, the ability to laugh at yourself and other things. Now that we've gotten that straightened out, what about stress? We all know what that is that's for sure. We have it in one form or another every day. Like when we're late for work and can't find our car keys, or we put on that great new skirt and the zipper comes off in our hands...these are stressful situations. Not too humorous I'm sure, but maybe we can start to instill a little humor to help ourselves with stress relief.

Take the photo I've posted as an example. As the party proceeded later into the night than expected, and there was no wood to burn, my daughter (with her sense of humor) gathered the little candles and lit them saying, "let's pretend it's a fire"...we didn't get any warmer, but we sure did laugh. A perfect example of a sense of humor in a stressful situation.

This should be worth a laugh.
This should be worth a laugh. | Source

To keep your sense of humor alive, hang around with other folks who have a sense of humor. Happy people make you feel happy. To avoid embarrassing the 'gentleman' showing off his Sponge Bob Underpants (my second picture), let's just say he did it for a laugh and to lighten a situation that was becoming stressful. Obviously you don't have to walk around with your underwear hanging out to be humorous but the lesson here is don't be afraid to be funny to fight stress....laugh about things.

Probably the best way to fight stress is to avoid it. If you don't have stress this whole thing becomes a moot point. However, that is pretty impossible to do so why not embrace humor? Humor can change the way the body deals with stress. Laughter affects your facial muscles, back muscles, and stomach muscles...oh, and did I mention it burns calories and boosts your immune system too! Laughter elevates your mood...all stress reducers.

The easiest way to begin developing a sense of humor is to start with a smile. Yes, a simple smile. When you see something you like, smile. When someone says something you like, smile. Don't worry if people think you're a little unhinged, just smile! Smile at pretty things, smile at cute things....smile...as the song says,

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Now that you've taken to smiling, start looking at 'frustrating' and 'stressful' things and think about how ridiculous they really are. Really...your boss telling you he needs that work done in the next hour when you know it's going to take all day....that's ridiculous! How about a line at the grocery store that is winding around the store? That's ridiculous! Granted you can't do anything about either of these situations but smile!

My granddaughters found something humorous!
My granddaughters found something humorous! | Source

“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Now that you're smiling what other ways can you use humor to reduce stress? Watch funny movies or TV shows. If you're watching the TV Show "The Big Bang Theory" and Howard's mother doesn't make you laugh, you may need an attitude adjustment. Watching funny things on TV or in the movies not only helps relieve stress but takes you away from it for a little while. Managing your sense of humor may start here....learning how to get away from things and laugh.

You've heard of "humoring someone", maybe we need humor to go beyond that. What about, "the last laugh", "Tomfoolery", "dark humor", practical jokes, all in the name of humor, all ways to develop your sense of humor. Then of course there's "droll" humor, off-color or risque humor, highbrow, lowbrow, slapstick...you get the idea? Well, pick one!

Of course there's verbal humor or written humor...I might go out on a limb and say we'll find more written than verbal here. Writing anecdotes or epigrams may be one way to develop your sense of humor. Of course the Freudian slip often fits as well on men as it does on women!

Learn to take yourself lightly and laugh at things you do and things that happen to you, when appropriate of course. Make fun a priority in your life, not something left over for after the meltdown. Give yourself permission to be happy in all situations. Face those stressful situations with a smile on your face and humor in your heart.

Manage stress through humor and you'll be a happier, healthier person!

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    • Jackwms profile image

      Jackwms 4 years ago

      Just beautiful Mary. Dreary, rainy day, and I just returned from cancer radiation treatments. The humor and motivational speakers really added to my day.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a wonderful family you have. I was laughing just looking at the pictures of your guys laughing. Great message, Mary. It's miserable right now so I'm going to light a bunch of candles to stay warm. :)

      Seriously, I would not be alive if it were not for my sense of humor. When all else failed I was always able to laugh. Loved this hub.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Having fun and laughing is where its at. After all if you have a bad day..you just wasted a precious day of life. Great hub.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Now Jack, you have made my day and made this hub worthwhile. Thank you for sharing....God Bless today and always.

      Billy, you'd love my family...they're all as crazy as I am but we sure have fun ;) Glad you enjoyed...be careful with your candle fire ;)

      So right Carol.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I have always loved the song "smile". It is indeed important to lift oneself with a sense of humor through the hard times. Thanks for sharing!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      This is a wonderful message and reminder to us all. A sense of humor makes many problems seem so much smaller. I think your family looks great. Excellent hub with important message.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I think without our sense of humor Michelle, things could be very dark!

      Thanks Pam...I am so proud of my happy family!

    • GoingOnline profile image

      GoingOnline 4 years ago

      Laughing and chocolate make everything better :D Thanks for the reminder!

    • penlady profile image

      penlady 4 years ago from Sacramento, CA

      Laughter is indeed the best medicine, including for stress. And your hub certainly proves it. Great and funny hub.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Hmmmm. I don't know, Til.....a somber and serious-minded person such as myself, just can't seem to muster up a comment. I'm just not into "humor." I'm basically quite reserved and shy. I find nothing funny, ever. Actually, I'm just a boring sad sack.

      OK....I'm a big fat liar.

      I see the ad for Loretta LaRoche......OMG...have you ever had the enormous pleasure of seeing her on TV? She is an absolute riot.....makes me laugh my butt off!

      Great hub Til.. Your hubs are always terrific....because you're a Hub Rock Star........and I know I already sang to you, but again, "Happy Birthday," my dear lady friend!..........UP+++

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      GoingOnline, how could I have forgotten chocolate!

      Penlady, glad you enjoyed my hub.

      Now see here Effer, laughing at anything and everything is not only permitted but encouraged....if you think for one minute I thought you were a serious-minded sober-type person you would be sadly mistaken! Thank you again for the B'day wishes!

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

      You know how humorous Lord can be. Happy birthday Mary! Loved your hub and pics. Congrats on the acceptance to the AP!

      One day I backed off on a state trooper, thinking I was shifting into "Drive D." and accidentally went back to "R," after getting my speeding ticket. I saw a laptop and two shoes going back on that police car, while watching through my rear view mirror. Yikes!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      So true my friend andthanks for sharing this gem. I vote up and share. Here's to so many more hubs for us both to share on here.

      Eddy.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 4 years ago from South Africa

      Lovely hub about the most successful stress-reliever, humor. Thank you, tillsontitan. I absolutely adore people with a sense of humor. Laughing is surely one of the most enjoyable activities in the life of a human being. Too bad for those who don't agree with me. They don't know what they're missing.

      Happy birthday, Mary!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Now that's a really cool idea for a warm fire! My wife is crazy about candles to the point where I go to bed afraid that the house might burn down in the night...and me with all those unfinished hubs buzzing around in my head! LOL!

      Beautiful hub, Mary! The anecdotes and photos of family (and the unknown gentleman sporting the SpongeBob undies) exuded the very topic you were brilliantly writing about. You've lovingly and empathetically shared your personal painful experiences with your readership, and so this hub is even more meaningful in terms of its author walking the talk!

      You are an amazing human being, and I'm so blessed to read your creations!

      PS Loved the line by Steve Maraboli...yep, control is an illusion, alright! May we always have it in us to laugh...uncontrollably!

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Thank you for the birthday wishes Joseph and the congrats on the AP....now I'm laughing at the look on that state troopers face!

      Eddy, we're gonna be hubbin' a long, long time!

      Martie, humor's where its at and that's that! Thanks for the b'day wishes.

      Hawaiiandodysseus...candles have gained so much in popularity I think we're all getting 'wik-ed'. You gotta love the undies! I am the one blessed to be here and have the pleasure of knowing you! Control? Hmm.....

    • profile image

      AudraLeigh 4 years ago

      I appreciate your hub tonight, your daughter;s fire, and the fancy shamancy underpants...giggle...thank you seriously :)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Superb hub! I can find humor in just about anything. Seriously, anything. I surprise myself with what I laugh at. Haha! I hope you had a wonderful birthday!

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Way to go Mary! You just made me laugh. I love the entire hub and this:

      “You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free. Gotta Google more from Steve Maraboli; sounds like a delightful read. Thanks.

      Cheers!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Very inspiring and positive. A pep up for the day. Thanks for sharing.

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 4 years ago from east of the equator

      The glass is always half full... except when its half empty. Thanks Mary, for reminding us all of the need to fight stress with a good sense of humor. This is a great article. LOL

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      You just have to laugh! Nice Hub. Talking abou this just yesterday evening with my sister. We have another sister who is in emotional turmoil and will not lighten up. We know if she'd try to lighten up, have a laugh and see the funny side, she'd be better.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Audra thanks for getting it all!

      SS my friend, that's what its all about, being able to laugh at ANYTHING!

      Thanks for the b'day wish...now I can officially say I'm old ;)

      CrisSp, my second ambition in life was to be a comedian, now I have accomplished that too ;) I think we'll all be looking at Steve Maraboli.

      Happy to provide pep Vellur!

      Right on sligobay! Well said.

      Oh GoodLady, if only your sister could see the funny side...but sometimes its easier for us than others.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      This hub a breath of fresh air; humor is so critical in our daily lives. Laughing is soo important, as are smiles. I just got back from picking up a script from CVS. I was munching on an apple when I drove up to the drive-in window, and started to laugh as I so ungraciously tried to talk to the clerk with a mouthful of apple. Then the male clerk started to laugh. When I finished paying for the script, he leaned out of the window with a broad smile, and said, “Hey…an apple a day – right?” We laughed again, and it was so nice to have a few minutes of smiles and laugher with a complete stranger. It lifted my spirits. Thanks for this insightful and hub, Til. :-)

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I'm sure you lifted his spirits too Genna! When you smile the whole world smiles with you! Have a good one Gen!!

    • byshea profile image

      Shea 4 years ago

      I've always made it a point to try to find one comic strip out of my local paper each day that I cut out and put on my fridge. If I'm having a bad day, it helps to lighten things up when I go to the kitchen and it always makes for fun entertainment when people come over and want to look at my refrigerator.

    • Steve West profile image

      Steve West 4 years ago from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

      Finals week.......I need some stress relief. If I do one more formula on soil I'm going to yak.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I love it bshea...I too read the comics but only cut out 'pertinent' ones in the past...I like your idea!

      Steve, I don't know how you're doing it. Think of Joan Rivers!!

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 4 years ago from east of the equator

      Good selection of comments on the subject of smiles and laughter, Mary. I love your choice of the musical phrase:

      Smile though your heart is aching

      Smile even though it's breaking

      When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by

      If you smile through your fear and sorrow

      Smile and maybe tomorrow

      You'll see the sun come shining through for you

      I always try to " smile through your fear and sorrow " and the sun does eventually shine through. I also take 3000 mg of niacin Vitamin B1 daily which has been a non-pharmaceutical cure for my depression. This was the successful treatment for depression which was prescribed by a doctor 75 years ago for Bill Wilson, one of the co-founders of AA.

      Niacin is also heart-healthy. I've been on and off of pharmaceutical anti-depressants for more than 25 years and this is the best solution that I've ever found. I smile and laugh all the time.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I am so happy to hear that Niacin has done such wonderful things for you Sligobay! I can't imagine you not being happy. God Bless.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Mary... thanks for this... just what was needed after a rather tiring day. The interesting part of being around funny people is we become the same after a while. Nothing like a well planned prank but a warning be prepared it will likely come back you three fold. I speak from experience... smiles

      Hugs and Blessings from Canada

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I can't imagine you a prankster Rolly but of course I believe you :) Thanks for stopping by, it is always good to see you.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      Everybody loves humor. Maintaining sense of humor is not only useful for healthy relationship but also for mental well being.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I have always thought a good sense of humor will see you through the toughest times...and I agree Vinaya, it is good for your mental well being.

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 4 years ago from east of the equator

      Hello Mary. A good sense of humor will always see us through. Happy Holidays.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Most definitely Sligo! Merry Christmas.

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 4 years ago from east of the equator

      A smile is a gift which may be given away again and again. Share yours with every one you meet throughout the holidays. Gerry

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      How lovely Gerry! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      How lovely Gerry! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      You're right Mary, we do need to find a way to laugh at all situations, particularly the ones that seem stressful.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I really, really believe that smiling and laughing keeps our hearts light and helps us deal with the realities we have to face. Have a good one Millionaire!

    • superfly47 profile image

      David McKenzie 4 years ago from Canada

      Yes, it is hard to angry when you're laughing.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      True Superfly.....keep a smile on your face :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I had a good laugh at those pictures. You need to have a sense of humour to keep living. Stress can kill you. Thanks for this.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      So true aesta, if you can't laugh you can't live ;0

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