Mistakes are a part of life. They’re not the best part, but they happen, and they’re signs to prove that you’re just human. Most of us understand this, yet overthinking and dwelling on past mistakes is one of the most common stressors.
There’s no reason to let those feelings resonate and boil over into something negative. In fact, it’s kind of funny how often we let little, miniscule issues wreak havoc on the rest of our day.
This is why laughing at yourself and your mistakes is such a fantastic mechanism for letting yourself go! Taking yourself too seriously and beating yourself up over every little thing won’t lead to a happy and healthy life.
Learn to laugh at yourself and see all the good that comes out of it.
What Makes Us Laugh?
Comedic television shows, stand-up comics, or a friend doing something silly are all things that we think of as “funny.” But why exactly do those sorts of things elicit laughter?
Humor has been studied for ages, and there is philosophical logic behind why we find certain things to be funny.
One is known as the Surprise Theory. This is the tendency to laugh at something that is deemed to be incongruous, or abnormal. It’s actually believed to be a response to fear.
For example, if you’re in a spooky haunted house attraction and a scary clown jumps out at you, you’ll feel frightened at first. But when you realize that the clown in question is just a person in costume, and you paid to do this, you feel a sense of relief. In turn, this can lead to laughter. This same logic applies to punchlines of jokes. We might feel confident in where the joke is going, we’re surprised when it goes completely off the rails, so then we laugh.
The other theory is known as the Superiority Theory, where you might laugh if you feel superior to someone. This can explain why people falling down might be funny to you, as you feel superior to the victim in that moment in time. It’s okay to laugh as long as the joke isn’t coming at anyone’s expense. AKA, make sure they’re not injured first — then you can chuckle a little bit.
When it comes to laughing at yourself, you’ll likely resonate most with the surprise theory. For example, forgetting your keys for the third time in a week is incongruous to your normal life, so you have good reason to laugh at yourself because of how silly of a mistake it was.
Benefits of Laughing
They say laughter is the best medicine. While we hope a doctor wouldn’t prescribe laughter for a broken leg, there are some really profound benefits that laughter and smiling can offer.
Short Term Effects
Everytime you laugh, your body receives an immediate positive boost. Believe it or not, laughter can actually stimulate many of your internal organs. It enhances oxygen intake, which helps to stimulate the heart and lungs. Plus, it releases endorphins in the brain, which can make us feel happy after a good chuckle.
Remember how the surprise theory is believed to stem as a response to fear? When this happens, it briefly fires up your body’s stress response, or the fight or flight response. You might even notice this taking place during a stand-up routine. As the comedian tells a long story, you know that a punchline is coming up. Your body anticipates this occurrence, increasing your heart rate and blood pressure.
Then, when the punchline arrives, your body can rest easy knowing how the joke ends. The result is an extremely calming and relaxed feeling. It’s why you often feel really good after having a really good laugh.
Long Term Effects
Living a lifestyle where you’re surrounded by funny people can have long term effects on your health. Primarily, persistent laughter can improve your immune system.
Feeling stressed and anxious consistently can negatively affect your body. Chemical reactions that occur during prolonged stress can result in poor heart health and greater risk for immunodeficiency disorders.
When you’re always laughing and thinking positively, you eliminate some of the risk of these ailments arising. Positive thinking can increase neuropeptides, which help fight stress. It means that laughing might actually help balance out your response to stressful stimuli.
Laughing is also an amazing mood booster. It can help lessen feelings of depression and anxiety, maybe even preventing some of those symptoms from occurring.
How To Laugh at Yourself
Laughing at movies or tv shows is easy. But laughing at yourself can be kind of tough. However, not taking yourself seriously is so important to relieving stress from life’s toughest moments.
Feeling stressed is normal, but it’s easy to let small moments completely consume out cognitive functioning. It’s important to be able to take a step back and look at your situations from an outsider’s perspective.
Let’s say you made a mean comment to a friend the other day. You haven’t stopped thinking about it, and you’ve assumed that your friend has been mad at you since then. Look at the situation objectively. Did you mean any harm? Did you apologize in the moment? Was the comment as mean as you really think?
When you can look at life through an objective lens, more often than not, you’ll see how completely irrational you’ve been. In this situation, your comment probably didn’t even mean a thing to your friend.
Laugh at these moments when you’ve taken life too seriously. When something happens that was easily fixed or irrationally overthought, give yourself the gift of laughter to remind yourself that tiny mistakes are just little incongruities that aren’t worth the strain and worry.
Judge Yourself With Kindness
You’ve probably heard of self-deprecating humor, and you might even utilize it yourself. Self-deprecation is actually an important practice in allowing yourself to neutralize negative thoughts.
For example, if you have a ton of acne on your face right before a first date, that might cause you a lot of stress. You might worry about what the date thinks, and you’ll think about it all night long. Making a joke about the acne can alleviate all of these stressors. You’ve put it out in the open so you no longer need to worry about it being the unspoken elephant in the room.
Just be sure that self-deprecation doesn’t become too ingrained in your personality, because you might start to only focus on the negatives. Be sure to compliment yourself when you deserve it, and only use self-deprecation when you’re feeling really stressed about circumstances that are out of your control.
Try Laughter Yoga
Organic laughter is the best kind. When something is genuinely funny, a good belly laugh is unmatched.
But not all laughter needs to start from an external source. In a practice called laughter yoga, all you need to do is force a vocal laugh. Even if nothing funny is happening, make yourself laugh for an extended period of time. It helps to look at yourself in the mirror as you watch the goofiness of it all as it happens.
What you’ll quickly find is that the laughter becomes very real! You start to realize that what you’re doing is so silly that you just have to laugh at yourself. While it might feel weird at first, it’s an awesome way to restore balance to your mood in a truly unique way.
Make Others Laugh
Everyone has their own unique sense of humor. We tend to surround ourselves with people who are like minded and find similar things to be funny.
With that in mind, if you can be the one to throw out jokes at the dinner table or in the middle of game night, do it! Not only will it get your friends and family cackling, it can cause you to laugh as well. Laughter is contagious, so if you can make someone else chuckle, you’re likely to start laughing at yourself all the same.
It’s long been said that laughter is the best medicine. And in many ways, that’s not wrong. Laughing at life’s incongruities can stimulate your heart and lungs, boost your mood, and balance out your stress response.
And laughing at yourself is a great way to feel these benefits.
By being self-aware and laughing at your tiny mistakes, practicing laughter yoga, or even making others around you laugh, you’re giving yourself a reason to smile every single day.
A smile a day keeps the doctor away! Just like CBD, a smile can improve your mood, support your immune system, and relieve feelings of stress. Our company, Smile, is dedicated to creating CBD products with the highest-quality ingredients, so you have a reason to smile every single day.