The ability to laugh at yourself reveals to others several important traits about you.
First, it shows you have a sense of humor—a desirable trait.
Next, when you practice self-effacing humor, you’re demonstrating your vulnerability. Those experiencing your humor see your openness in a way that makes you more approachable.
And when you poke fun at yourself, you're demonstrating poise and self-assurance. Being able to laugh at yourself takes a strong level of self-confidence.
So today’s challenge: Laugh at yourself.
Forgot your computer password? Left your zipper in the down position? Locked your keys in the car—again? Lighten up. Show others that you recognize that you aren’t perfect, that you’re capable of making mistakes, and that you can reframe and see imperfections through the lens of humor.
Numerous members of my family—including me—deal with Attention Deficit Disorder. We may have this disorder, but it doesn’t have us! We...
“Got any good jokes?”
“Nah, I can never remember the punch line…”
That’s how the conversation usually goes when I ask people for a joke. And when I ask for a show of hands in my audience to see who can tell a joke, only about 1 in 100 will raise their hand (while the person sitting next to them looks on thinking, “You can’t tell a joke!”).
Why is it that the majority of us believe we can’t tell a good joke? Joke telling is a skill that can be learned without a lot of blood, sweat and tears. For most of us, it’s just not that important. At least until today…
Today’s challenge: Tell a joke! If you already know a good one, then you’re way ahead. If you don’t, then here’s what you need to prepare for today’s exercise.
First, find a joke that you find funny. (Knock knock jokes, light bulb jokes, lawyer/doctor/engineer jokes, bar jokes—the list is almost endless!) There are tons of...
When we look at something as negative, bad juju in our body. But if we can change our perspective, it changes our outlook as well as our health. Humor is an easy and practical way to change your mindset.
Today’s humor challenge: Create a "rediculous explanation" list.
Think of something you’d like to get out of doing: Doing the dishes, filing your taxes, going to work… Then use your creativity or brainstorm with your humor buddy, and come up with as many outlandish and ridiculous reasons as you can to dodge the dreaded task! By viewing your chore through the lens of humor, you can lessen your stress and improve your mood. You'll more likely do a better job and enjoy it more.
Here’s an example:
I can't go to work today because…
Who makes you laugh? Ellen DeGeneres? Steve Martin? CK Lewis? Rita Rudner? Tim Allen? Roseanne Barr? Jeff Foxworthy? Whoopi Goldberg? David Letterman? Paula Poundstone? George Carlin? Wanda Sykes? Eddie Izzard? Joan Rivers? (Review your notes from Challenge Day 1: But I’m Not Funny)
Today’s challenge: Tap into your favorite comedian.
Today it’s easy to tune in and listen to your favorite comedian. YouTube carries tons of routines from comedians, past and present. iTunes allows you to listen to and download your favorites and take them with you on your smart phone, computer, iPad, iPod, tablet—you name it. And for those of you still listening to CDs—you can find a great number of comedian’s works on Amazon. (For those of you with cassette and 8-track tapes, your task may be a bit more challenging, but persevere!) Tip: if you follow your favorite comedians on social media, you may be able to access bits that aren’t available for sale.
I believe that humor is abundant—at least most of the time. But I’ll admit there will be times when you can’t think of anything humorous to laugh about. What then? Laugh anyway.
Today’s challenge: Laugh for no reason.
Laughter is so good for us and provides so many benefits that if you don’t have a reason to laugh, you’ll want to laugh anyway. It’s okay if it’s not a real laugh. Even with a fake (simulated) laugh, you get loads of benefits: aerobic exercise for your heart, muscle relaxation, improved mood—just to mention a few. And frequently your simulated laugh may become a stimulated (or real) laugh.
We have neurons in our brains called mirror neurons. That’s why when we see or hear someone else laugh our brain messages us to laugh, too. Sitcoms often capitalize on this by putting a laugh track on their show—you hear the laughter and then laugh yourself—even if you didn’t find it that funny! Or...
You can learn a lot about practicing humor from watching kids at play.
I was behind a mom and her 2 kids in the check-out lane and overheard her 6-year old singing away at the top of his lungs. It was a total nonsense song: John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt… I couldn’t help but laugh out loud—and then sing along with him!
Today’s Humor Challenge? Sing a silly song!
Think back to when you attended camp, or scout meetings, or church groups. Did you ever learn any silly songs? (Thought provoking songs, like… Do you ears hang low? or Great green gobs of greasy grimey gopher guts?) Still drawing a blank? How about theme songs from sitcoms? How about Gilligan’s Island, Beverly Hillbillies, Sponge Bob Square Pants? [If all else fails, Google 'camp songs' or 'sitcom theme songs'.]
Warning: Song may get stuck in your head (technically, that’s called an Ear Worm, but this is not a true parasite!). The antidote for an earworm? Substitute a DIFFERENT...
Do you ever hit a point in your day where your energy lags, your shoulders tighten, and you wouldn’t recognize a good idea if it jumped up and bit you? Time to push back from your desk and have a little fun. Can’t think of something fun to do?
Today’s challenge: Create a fun list!
Make a list of at least 10 things you like to do (20 is even better!). Disclaimer: Make sure that at least half your activities cost you $5 bucks or less to do.
The rationale? Often when you’re most in need of fun is when you’ll list be able think of something fun to do. And sometimes the reason we’re feeling crabby or crappy is because cash flow is a problem—and you don’t want that to get in the way of experiencing some amusement.
I could give you a long list of things that I think are fun. But they may not be fun to you. Humor and fun are individual tastes. A participant in one of my programs listed skydiving at the top of his list. My mom was a pilot. She...
No doubt, there will come a time (chances are it has, already… and more than once!) that you’re stuck in a negative situation or with a negative person (the one whose goal in life is to be absolutely miserable, and whose mission is to bring down the rest of us with them!). When that occurs, one technique that you can practice is humor visualization.
I once worked with an administrator who had a gift for making all around her unhappy. Whenever she attended a meeting, by the time it was over, somebody was sure to leave crying. As I was walking out of one such dismal meeting, a colleague came up to me, and in a voice dripping with sarcasm asked, “What were you smiling about in there? You two collaborating on some little scheme?” When I realized she was insinuating that somehow I was fraternizing with the enemy, I was shocked. I’d found the meeting absolutely painful. How could she think I’d been smiling? And then it dawned on me…
At the low...
Shared humor is even more powerful than humor experienced by yourself. When you share humor with another person, you both get to experience the benefits!
Today’s challenge: Designate a humor buddy.
Reach out to someone who shares your sense of humor. Invite them to be part of the Humor Challenge with you. This person is someone you can laugh with, try out your humor exercises on, and can help hold you accountable.
I have a number of humor buddies that I love sharing humor with. I know when I send something their way, they’ll appreciate a chuckle and know that I was thinking of them. And when I’m in need of a boost, I can call them, email them, send them a text, give them a shout-out on social media, or get together over coffee (or other beverages of choice!) and they’ll provide the support I need in the form of something funny.
This challenge is about helping you create a humor habit so you can maximize the benefits that humor provides. You can do this by...
I’ve often wondered what holds people back from using humor. I think a lot of times it’s because people don’t want to look silly. The word “silly” comes from an Old English term that meant to be healthy, happy and prosperous. (Who wouldn’t want more of that?)
When I think of “silly” I immediately think Monty Python’s John Cleese and “The Ministry of Silly Walks.” It’s a classic. You might be surprised to know that John Cleese—one of the funniest men alive—does not consider himself to be particularly funny. In his “real life” he’s not “the life of the party.” But he has the confidence to do something silly for his own enjoyment, and the enjoyment of others.
So what do you think? Are you willing to overcome your fear of looking silly? (FYI: I've found no medically validated cases of anyone dying from embarrassment.) For some of you, this may stretch you a little...