I had the privilege of presenting the first of four interactive laughter classes at a retirement community in Chicago. 85 residents came to the event and all participated to their comfort level and all seemed to have a wonderful time. I saw it on their faces, heard it in their thank-you’s, and I felt it in the hugs after the class.

Inappropriate laughter

I shared the benefits of laughter, shared a few stories, and answered questions. One question was, “What do you do if you laugh at an inappropriate time…like at a funeral?” My response: “Up until the funeral, you may have been stressed caring for your loved one and then finalising funeral plans. When laughter erupts because of something funny, it is most likely a release of stored (bottled up) emotions. And, did you notice how, after you started laughing, you felt better? And, most likely others in the room laughed, too, because they felt they had “permission” to laugh?”

It seems that throughout my life I had the wherewithal to find the humor in non-funny situations. Was it nervous laughter? Was it a defense mechanism? Perhaps. What may have started out as a defense mechanism to shield myself from heartache and disappointment evolved into my style of humor. I truly believe in the power of “finding the funny” not as a cover-up of emotions but, rather, a method for developing a healthy perspective on the situation and a way to find the lesson(s) in the experience.

Humour and a lighter perspective

Finding humour is a sign for me that the healing process has begun. And, that I am seeing the situation with a lighter, healthier perspective.

After several months of working with an incompetent accountant, I finally decided to fire him. Doing so meant that I had to drive to his office and retrieve my files and records. I got the image in my head of breaking up with a boyfriend and having to go to his place and pick up my records. Yes, I was picking up my records (tax records). As I laughed on my drive home, I thought myself, “Julie, you’ve found the funny. You’ll be alright. It will all work out.”

Go ahead and give yourself permission to lighten your perspective and lighten your life just a bit. You’ll begin to feel a bit better and see the situation with a clearer perspective.

About the author: To find out more about Julie Ostrow, please click here.


‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’

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