How Humour Generates A Positive Mindset


The Healing Power of Laughter series Part 2 of 2

How Humour Generates a Positive Mindset

Attractive Mixed Race Girls Smiling and Talking While Working on Smart Mobile Phone and Tablet Computer.In the first post on Humour and Stress, I explained how the latest research has shown that laughter has powerful, positive physical effects on the body. However, that is not the only way that a good sense of humour can help us, as other research is beginning to confirm that laughter also has a strong effect on our mental and spiritual health as well.

Over the past couple of decades the mental health profession has gone through something of a transformation. Spurred by the development of an area known as Positive Psychology, mental health professionals have begun to shift from treating the symptoms of mental health problems to the practice of nurturing strength, resilience and emotional health. Of course, the treatment of existing conditions continues but, rather than focusing exclusively on mental health problems, therapy today encourages positive mental growth and a nurturing environment.

For me, regular exposure to humor and the ability to laugh at ourselves does much the same thing.

Using laughter to nurture mental health

While it is true that positive thinking is critical to good mental health, it is also true that all of us experience problems in life; from the day-to-day hustle and bustle of living to more serious, life-changing challenges that can seem overwhelming. Laughter helps us to devalue these challenges, helping us to put them in their proper perspective and allowing us to chuckle at the thought that we could never overcome them.

As explained in an article at the website, laughter can distract us from a stressful situation, help us reduce our focus on the negatives of the situation, and can enhance our connection with others in a similar situation.

  • “Distraction: Laughter brings the focus away from anger, guilt, stress and negative emotions in a more beneficial way than other mere distractions.”
  • “Perspective: Studies show that our response to stressful events can be altered by whether we view something as a ‘threat’ or a ‘challenge’. Humor can give us a more lighthearted perspective and help us view events as ‘challenges’, thereby making them less threatening and more positive.”
  • “Social Benefits of Laughter: Laughter connects us with others. Just as with smiling and kindness, most people find that laughter is contagious, so if you bring more laughter into your life, you can most likely help others around you to laugh more, and realize these benefits as well. By elevating the mood of those around you, you can reduce their stress levels, and perhaps improve the quality of social interaction you experience with them, reducing your stress level even more!”

All of these positive effects from laughter serve to make us stronger and more resilient, leading to a more positive outlook and improved mental health; the very goal of Positive Psychology as explained above.

Further, by releasing us from our negative thought patterns, humour and laughter open us up to a more spiritual outlook on life. Without the habit of constant negative thinking to create interference for us, our path to spiritual health becomes a much easier road to travel. Meditation becomes much more effective with a relaxed mind, and communication becomes easier for us, through the use of shared humour. Don’t you always feel closer to someone with whom you’ve shared a good laugh?

Next, we will explore using laughter as a stress reduction technique, with hints on the practical application of humour in your daily life. For more on changing from a negative to a positive mindset and dealing with stress, you might want to read my book, “Just Give your Head a Shake.”

If you are struggling with your own journey of happiness and stress relief, and would like help finding or staying on the road you would like to follow, get in touch with me today.


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