How Laughter Helps Relationships
Comedy is the blues for people who can’t sing- Chris Rock.
Have you been feeling down and less than motivated? Laughter is what may be missing from your life. There are few ways to incorporate more laughter into your life such as: naturally, create it, or force it.
You’re A Natural
Naturally doesn’t mean you have to be naturally funny although it could help. Naturally means that we take the time in life to notice the humorous things that naturally appear. This can be accomplished by setting a goal when waking up in the morning to find at least one thing that is funny. When we make that a small goal to find one thing, we are also exercising our minds ability to better acknowledge or catch when something funny is in the area.
Tag & Share
Second step to this process is to share what was funny with someone else. This is a helpful first step in starting a new change. This serves as an additional way to focus on change. Hopefully the person you choose to share it with will also find it funny to keep the laughter going. If they do not, the goal is more for you to strengthen your reflection in nostalgia of the laughing moment. We will discuss this further in the force it section how shared laughter is helpful.
To create laughter means that you go out and make it happen. Searching for it through home or community interaction like LIVE comedy shows, musicals etc. Choosing to watch the new comedy show over a horror flick you are actively making a conscious choice to bring the anxiety and stress down. At times we may need to up the laughter in life because maybe what is happening around us is not funny, it may be even downright depressing. As Chris Rock joked it can help with our blues.
Laugh Yourself In Love
Part of why I fell in love with my partner was for his sense of humor, not all of it as there is a side that is inappropriate, but how he handles my concerns often have a way of instilling humor. Once while brushing my hair I mentioned I was going to stop dying my hair for a while to let my grays grow. He chuckled, “Great you will look like my mom.” I shook my head in disbelief and said, “Your mom doesn’t even have grey hair and he slyly said, ” I know but I can call you my mom.” Or another discussion in which I say I want to chop my hair off he says enthusiastically “Great you will look like Brad Pitt who copies all of his girlfriends.” (not sure what that really all means but I often find myself laughing anyway because it’s ridiculous).
Don’t Hide Go Seek
Now maybe we aren’t humorous all the time and we need help and laughter is something we need to seek. Besides watching funny Netflix series or movies, we have attended 3 LIVE comedy shows. Going to shows like this are great because often the live shows make you put your phone away or you will get kicked out, which helps with being present.
Humor and the ability to make someone laugh is a no brainer that in spousal satisfaction humor was associated with high marital satisfaction as reported in the International Journal of Humor Research. In a study to determine if women sought out humorous men this sample was conducted in the: USA, UK, China, Turkey, and Russia. Roughly 3000 couples both husband and wife report being happier if both were humorous but was especially true with wife’s marital satisfaction. If the partner teased more then of course there was dissatisfaction within the relationship. The relationship with humor is not to be an ongoing roast, or public display of humiliation. If you and your partner need some help being funny or too tired to be clever then look up jokes, funny animal clips and send them to one another, a way to create more laughter together.
Force It Within You
Force it means just like it sounds. We are forcing ourselves to laugh in a moment that maybe is unsettling. It is not uncommon for people to laugh in inappropriate situations to calm nerves. When this is required the result is not to look for how much do I feel better, but more was I able to break the intensity of the negativity for a moment? What we want to do is force more small breaks of intense negativity or unhappiness. We can force laughter in an uncomfortable situation although, be mindful this may also require explaining if there are other people around who may not understand your need for self-soothing.
The other way is to dedicate 30-60 seconds to forced laughter. In a study by McGettigan found that the regions of the brain activated in response to hearing the laughter regardless of the authenticity of the laughing sounds. In participants listening to the authentic, ‘evoked’ laughter, activation was higher in the bilateral superior temporal gyrus and Heschl’s gyrus. However, activation differed in response to forced laughter. When participants heard recordings of such laughter, activation increased in the anterior medial prefrontal cortex.
Therefore, forced laughter is good for us and others around us just the level of intensity may differ on level of efficacy. This will strengthen relationships for couples who can find laughter. The better they can find laughter the more resourceful they will be at helping the partner through tough times. Remember forcing may not always trick the mind but it will trick the body into self-regulation. The level of which our sugar levels return to normal and/or our blood flow is not restricted as it is when watching dramas.
Regardless, which level you choose to start your practice with laughter, it will prove beneficial physically and emotionally. These free tips are just a small and simple way you can work on releasing stress and anxiety with the low cost of laughter…what are you waiting for? Comment below and let me know how you practiced with laughter in your relationship.