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One of the greatest gifts you can give to others is the gift of humor.  Yet using humor to lift other’s spirits is a little more complicated than at first glance.  The most effective humor comes from

  • knowing who you are,
  • being who you are,
  • accepting who you are, and
  • appreciating who you are.

What does this have to do with humor? Humor communicates self-acceptance, self-appreciation, and self-love.  The word “humor” and “human” are closely related.  Humor is the grease that keeps the wheel of life turning.  It eases the friction that comes as life grinds on the axle.

The ancients knew this.  The 3000 year old Proverb states,

A merry heart does good, like medicine.  But a broken spirit dries the bones.”

Humor is good medicine for the soul.  But don’t discount the power of its preventative maintenance.

  • It’s an icebreaker during times of awkwardness.
  • It increases productivity when there seems to be a shortage of energy.
  • It releases stress that is doing damage.
  • It cures many ills that seem to lack remedy.

It’s a great influencer among family, among friends, and among peers.  It helps you look at mistakes with clear and fresh eyes.  It makes you – not bilingual, but multilingual as it translates into many cultures and languages.

Humor doesn’t condemn.  It doesn’t scold or sermonize with “I told you so.” And for the health conscious, laughter burns calories!

Humor is a major component of attitude.  It allows us to look at the lighter side of life.  It sets us up to enjoy what we do.

Here are 5 tips that will help you develop an appealing sense of humor:

1. Notice what is light, fun, and humorous about your self. The result? People will migrate toward you.  When you laugh at life, be sure to laugh at yourself. When you show your humorous side, others will love you for it.

“Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone.” Ella Wheeler

2. Ditch the “heavy load” attitude. When we take ourselves too seriously, we become like a closed door with a “not available” sign on it. 

When levity is absent, relationships become laborious.

The “heaviness” attitude pulls others down.  It’s repelling.  How do you respond to life’s issues?  Find that humor vitamin in the manure pile.  It’s in there somewhere!  It not only is attractive, but has the added advantage called “perspective.” It increases clarity of thought.  Which leads to…..

3. Use humor to turn panic into poise. Humor provides a powerful buffer against stress and fear. It reformats your perception of a stressor.  Dr. Rod Martin says,

Humor is about playing with ideas and concepts. So whenever we see something as funny, we’re looking at it from a different perspective. When people are trapped in a stressful situation and feeling overwhelmed, they’re stuck in one way of thinking: ‘This is terrible. I’ve got to get out of here.’ But if you can take a humorous perspective, then you’re looking at it differently — you’re breaking out of that rigid mind-set.”

Take a lesson from the Navy Seals, Rangers, and Special Forces. They see humor integral to success.

4. Know your context. According to studies (Psychology Today, etc.), women tend to use humor as a way of enhancing relationships.  Men have a tendency to use it to enhance their personas.  A woman will often retell a story of a comic moment that everyone shared last “Thanksgiving” holiday.  Where WE guys are more likely to treat our guests as our personal audience and play to their laughs.  This is part of our DNA and our difference.  It’s been proven that men like jokes and slapstick more than women. (I’ve been in groups where the women would often stare incredulously at my male friends’ viewing habits with the honest question, “Is that funny to you?”). Women find more humor in collaborative stories.  The key is to learn from one another and use humor in more than one way.

5. Employ humor to lift others up. We are like elevators.

We are either lifting others up, or taking them down.

Keep smiling.  It will even make your enemies rethink their position.  And intentionally lifting others up makes you appealing, especially to a burdened soul.

Perfection is the essence of God.  Laughter is the inspiration of God.  Let’s be intentional about using it. How about you? It’s your turn.