Make Your Sense of Humor a Priority

april is national humor monthApril is National Humor Month, and we can all use a daily dose

Can you ever have enough laughter? Unfortunately too many of us get caught up in our daily responsibilities and forget the value and joy of a good belly laugh. It’s good for your health to have at least one of these a day!

One way to work that into your life is to surround yourself with people you think are funny. Or maybe you’re the funny one, but you don’t always show that side of yourself to the people you work with. Why not find appropriate moments to bring joy into whatever situation you find yourself in? It can be contagious.

Here we provide a few prompts for ways to integrate humor into your life. Take a few of these to heart and see if you can find a few more laughs in the coming days and weeks.

Make time for your favorite standup
Maybe you can spring for tickets to see a performance by a comedian you love. Being in a room with hundreds or even thousands of other people who are there to laugh is a great source of energy and connectedness. If you can’t afford the time or the price, gather some friends and watch a comedy special together on TV. People’s laughter feeds on one another. The next time you’re choosing a movie to watch, pick one that looks like it will guarantee you at least a few chuckles.

Look for the humor
Nothing changes the energy in the room faster than laughing instead of expressing frustration. A light reaction invites those around you to participate in your life experience in a different way. Maybe you toppled over while riding your bike. Maybe you dropped a folder and the papers went flying. Maybe you spilled some of your lunch on your new white shirt. These are things that happen to everyone, and when you show you have a sense of humor about small humiliations, others around you are more likely to respond in kind, and relate with generosity and support. So let the annoyance go!

Change your knee-jerk reactions
When someone cuts you off in traffic or does something rude, bring awareness to any aggressive reaction you might be inclined to have. Why not just laugh at the situation instead? There are plenty of unpleasant scenarios that we simply cannot avoid. Perhaps the other person is having a bad day. Regardless—that doesn’t mean your day needs to be ruined by the interaction. Be generous in your laughter in these situations, though. You don’t want the other person to think you’re mocking them. If it’s clear you’re letting something go, the other person is likely to lighten up as well. Anything we can do to keep interpersonal situations from escalating is helpful for everyone.

Bring people up to speed on the funny
If you haven’t talked to someone in a few weeks, find something to share with them that you think will make them laugh. This way they’ll start looking forward to your catch-up conversations, and you’ll have a fun task you carry with you: looking out for aspects of your life that you think they’ll enjoy. Everyone wins!

Do these ideas help get you in the mood to laugh? We’re sure you can find all the opportunities you need in your day-to-day life. People in your life will be drawn to you when they begin to see that they can rely on you to bring a healthy dose of humor.

This article is part of the weekly blog of the Harris School of Business. We offer a number of career training programs at eight campuses located in New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Reach out to us for more information or to schedule a campus tour!