Several years ago, while in a mental health intensive outpatient group, a client unpacked a whimsical truth: “If you learn to laugh at yourself, you’ll have a lifetime of good material.” We are often too serious, critical, and frustrated with ourselves over the trivialities of everyday life. Actor and director Clint Eastwood offers this advice, “Take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously.” Lighten up and enjoy the present moment. Learning to laugh at ourselves can reduce the pressure we’re under, like letting some air out of an overinflated tire.
Benefits of Laughter
Recent research results reveal that laughing and hearing laughter in a social context is associated with increased release of endorphins leading to pleasurable feelings. Laughing in a group promotes feelings of safety, reduces angry feelings, promotes calmness, and reinforces social connection between people.
A Different Perspective
Typically, we can laugh only when we get a little distance from the trying and difficult circumstances of everyday life. Gaining distance requires a change in viewpoint. Instead of seeing situations as bleak, catastrophic, and never-ending, a change in perspective allows us to see a situation from someone else’s vantage point. With time, distance, and a new perspective, huge frustrations are reduced to minor irritations and major inconveniences become the fuel for your next funny story.
Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!