Laughter Is Powerful Medicine
The best thing about laughter is that it feels so, so good. How many medicines can boast the same?
And it’s super contagious! Have you ever just gotten helplessly drawn into the laughter of others? Of course, you have. That’s how laughter works.
If you want to laugh right now, this one always gets me: Flight of the Conchords Outtakes/Bloopers
As does this: The Californians Breaking Character Compilation
As does this: How to Ruin a Joke – Key & Peele
Work Your Funny Bone
You’ve probably heard of laughter yoga, a trend that has happily caught on around the globe. The essence of laughter yoga is laughing as boisterously as you can for at least a minute.
There are other ways to develop your funny bone, and I think any of us on planet Earth but especially those of us working with recovery and mental health can benefit greatly from placing attention on and developing our sense of humor.
With practice, our humor grows robust and palpable and helps us see the circumstances and experiences we find ourselves in, with a greater appreciation of the divine absurdity of which we all partake.
Personal Humor: Journal Exercise to Laugh More
The following journaling exercise can help you deepen into what’s funny to you personally. It’s very important as you do this exercise to understand that this is not about “being funny” in someone else’s eyes. This is about noticing when the spirit within you, your true core self, is chuckling a little at the natural comedy of your life. The pressure to “be” funny or clever is a comedy killer.
If you pay attention, you may find many situations in your life are or could be laced with laughter. If you’re standing in line at the DMV and you’re noticing that the woman behind the counter would be a great character in an SNL sketch, you’re on your way!
So hold it lightly, as a friendly investigation into what makes you laugh and why.
Seeing Yourself in Funny People
A. List 12 comedians or actors who make you laugh abundantly. For each of your 12 comedians or comic actors, take a moment to identify what specifically about them is so funny to you.
What gets you can be a tiny thing, the look on their face, a voice they use, when they break character, whatever. Do your best just to circle in on one or a few things that seem to especially make you laugh.
What you especially resonate with another is usually part of you too, some kind of affinity. See if you can see anything in this person, that reflects you to yourself. Are you a little like that, too? If so, start to look for it in your life.
B. Now list 12 TV shows or films that have made you laugh in the past, or are still making you laugh. There may be some overlap with the list of actors of course.
Again, think about what these shows may be mirroring to you, about yourself and life. Even if you don’t see any aspect of yourself in those shows, you may meet or know people like the ones you see portrayed. This recognition still points towards your inner personal comedic lens.
Seeing a Funny Person in Yourself
A. Write a list of 12 things about your own personality and/or situation in life that is potentially funny, or could be depending on how you think about it.
It’s ok if not everything you list is immediately hilarious, or even clear why it’s funny, yet, it might only be a little inkling. What’s a little absurd, ridiculous, comical, or amusing about you personally, even if you can’t yet put your finger on why?
Some things from me:
I am very warm and enthusiastic with people’s dogs but kind of standoffish with their owners
Sometimes my inner world is like the Sound of Music and sometimes it’s like a Werner Herzog movie
I’m absurdly codependent sometimes in ways that make my daily life harder. Such as wanting everyone in the grocery store to feel good, safe, and loved, to the point where it causes me to lose focus on my shopping list.
B. Many sitcoms and comedy specials are written by people who realize that something about their ordinary personality is silly. For example, Larry David plays an exaggerated version of himself in Curb Your Enthusiasm. What might the comedy sitcom of your life be?
Mine could be a sitcom about a team of good-hearted therapists who have no business helping other people because they’re all completely cuckoo themselves.
Thanks for reading!