The Super Power of Humor
Humor is known to be a very powerful force. It can decrease your stress level, improve your memory, improve relations, and can increase your overall sense of well-being. I was curious as to how it can affect your self-esteem and so did a little research!
What I have found is that there are several different aspects of humor that can actually enhance your self-esteem and confidence. Let's explore a few.
Learning to Laugh at Yourself
This type of self-deprecating humor is often considered a sign of low self-esteem. However, the opposite can actually be true, as long as the humor is used in the correct way! You cannot use humor to insult yourself or to be demeaning to yourself. You must use it gently and with kindness, then it can nurture your self-esteem. If humor is used when you make a mistake to laugh at yourself rather than beat yourself up, it helps to improve your self-esteem.
Improved Social Connections
It is a fact that people generally like people who have a good sense of humor more than those who don’t. being able to laugh at yourself shows others that you don’t take yourself too seriously and that you aren’t judgmental. In fact, studies have shown that both men and women find this attractive in their potential partners.
Improved Ability to Face Challenges
Perhaps because a sense of humor implies a certain level of creative thinking and problem-solving skills, it also gives you an increased ability to face challenges as they happen in your life. The positive feeling that you get when telling or hearing a good joke or story increased the ability to think in innovative ways. Also, it allows you to think more broadly, and recognize relationships and the implications of these relationships. All good skills to have when facing a new challenge.
Humor’s Power of Healing
In a study on this topic, people asked to watch old Marx brother's movies and other comedies showed a link between the positive feelings inspired by the movies and the actual healing of debilitating illnesses. There also have been studies that show humor can improve your mental health including things such as stress, anxiety, and depression.
Laughter itself is known to trigger the release of endorphins which interact with the opioid receptors in the brain. Because of this, it can have profound effects on your ability to overcome pain. These receptors also can bring about feelings of pleasure, and enhance feelings of togetherness, explaining the effect humor has on our social relationships.
But I'm Not Funny!
If you're lucky, you were born with a good sense of humor, but not everyone is. Don’t worry though, all hope is not lost! Humor is just another skill, and as we all know, skills can be learned! I don’t think there’s any class to take unless you want to take a class on improv or a class to become a stand-up, but I think inviting humor into your life is a good place to start. Look for humor in your everyday life. Try telling some jokes or telling a funny story to your family or co-workers. I think you have to do a little trial and error to learn what’s funny to other people and what isn’t, and it may take some practice to get the timing down. And don’t be afraid of telling a bad joke! That would be a great time for some of that self-deprecating humor that we talked about above!
If you look for humor in your everyday life, you will become happier, more well-adjusted, and increase both the number of connections in your life and their quality. You will feel more confident and will be more likable to others around you. Sounds like something we all want. If you’d like to talk more about this or want some self-esteem counseling, please follow the link. I’d love to talk with you!