Last month my 12-year-old daughter, Andie, was diagnosed with scarlet fever, strep throat and the flu all at the same time.
She felt miserable and the rash from scarlet fever covered her body and face. I felt horrible for her. At its very worse, she came downstairs and said, “Dad I look like I a tomato that got sunburned and then someone beat me up” 🙂
I loved that she could laugh at herself even in the midst of feeling bad and, well let’s face it, looking horrible.
For all of us, learning to laugh at ourselves has very positive benefits. Note that I said laugh at ourselves, which means that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. This is not to be confused with negative self-talk and poor self-image.
Benefit #1 – It improves our health
According to psychologist and humor researcher Dr. Arnie Cann, Laughter releases dopamine, oxytocin, increases blood flow, and strengthens the heart. Beyond its many health perks, a good sense of humor leads to increased optimism, which in turn, boosts our resiliency and enables us to thrive when we’re faced with adversity.
A reduction in stress, increased optimism, a healthier heart, and greater resiliency are all health benefits we could use more of in our lives.
Benefit #2 It Helps Us To Reframe Challenges
Imagine you make a mistake at work, you are embarrassed but instead of dwelling on it or shrinking away, you poke fun at it. You laugh at it and allow yourself to see it differently which allows your mind to learn from the mistake and grow. I’m not saying all mistakes can be laughed away but you can learn to gauge the situation and see where you can insert humor to reframe it.
Benefit #3 It Helps Us Build Better Relationships
There are several reasons that learning to laugh at ourselves improves relationships.
- People are drawn to others who are authentic. Your vulnerability and humor are likable traits.
- One of the health benefits of humor is the release of oxytocin. This chemical is what creates trust, connection, and social bonding. As oxytocin increases so does connection.
- Your willingness to laugh at yourself and to be authentic not only makes you more likable, it also brings down people’s walls and allows them to be more real with you.
Find a way to add a little more laughter into your life – the benefits are real!