“I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me to quit going to those places.” – Henny Youngman, British-born American comedian and violinist (1906-1998)
Whether we’re new to recovery or long-time abstinent, having a sense of humor can prove immensely helpful. Not only do we benefit from a good laugh, it also helps relieve tension, eradicate stress and make our problems seem less formidable – if only for a time.
We all need such an effective strategy in our recovery toolkit. But how many of us actually go out of our way to find something humorous in our daily activities? The truth is that humor can be developed. In other words, while there’s no real “funny bone” in our bodies, we all have an innate ability to view situations in a somewhat different light than the absolutely objective.
In short, we can learn to see what’s funny in life – if we practice and allow ourselves the freedom to do so. In fact, the latter is probably most important. We can read or hear jokes, but if we refuse to allow ourselves the luxury of laughing, it will sail over our heads and we’ll remain dour, sour and unmoved by the hilarity. Subtlety of humor will similarly escape us.
But it doesn’t have to be so. We can trick our pessimistic, serious mind into brief hiccups or gales of laughter over time. It will, however, take practice. That is, we’ll need to exercise our funny bone (believing that we truly have one will help) on a regular basis until we get used to relying upon it as an excellent stress reliever and overall method of feeling good about ourselves today.
The question is how do we train ourselves to find the humor in life? We may find watching over-the-top comedies the quickest way to a belly laugh. After all, comedies are an entertainment staple. They never go out of style and are readily available on DVD, DVR, Netflix, Amazon Prime and other video entertainment providers.
Books on laughter, comic strips, signing up for daily or weekly emails of jokes and humorous material can also provide fodder to help jump-start our brains to find the funny nugget in everyday experiences. Besides helping us feel better, humor has been proven to result in improved mood, the ability to be more resilient when dealing with problems and allows us to sleep a little better at night. Why such widespread benefits? Perhaps it has something to do with not taking ourselves so seriously, with being able to take a brief respite from our troubles and challenges and disappointments and allowing ourselves something fun for a change.
The truth is that there’s nothing more uplifting than being able to look at things in a slightly different way, to be able to see a different perspective and entertain suggestions on potential solutions to problems or viewing opportunities as being within our reach. Humor helps with all this.
Did you hear the one about the….? Pass along really funny (and clean) jokes to others who may appreciate them. That way, humor spreads and becomes contagious – in a good way.
The Haven Detox in West Palm Beach, Florida | (561) 328-8627