Psychology club with Lena: Sense of humour. How to develop

Автор: Alina

Remember when was the last time you laughed our heads off, who were you with? We can hardly ever remember the reason of laughter but we always remember how good it was. Was there a person who always tells joke and always in the center of attention as a life of the party? Would you like to be the one?

Some people are born with a killer sense of humor, others have to learn. The point is that it can be treated as a skill which can be developed. During psychology club meetings we usually discuss different stereotypes, common believes, trying to analyze them, view from different perspectives. One more myth that we tried to dispel this time was about sense of humour.

Although most people know how to be humorous, or have some sort of sense of humour, they do not utilize it. Some of the barriers to the activation of potential sense of humour are the wrong beliefs people repeat to themselves.  Do you have a person in your company with infectious laughter who can make other laugh with even no reason? If yes it is probably great luck, but if not you can be the one who gives the reason to laugh with telling jokes and bringing joy to others. Humour can be of different types, visual and linguistic, in the form of riddles, pan, posters, drawings, anecdotes from real life. The core part of it is a controversy. Most of the jokes have similar patterns, and armed with awareness about how humour works, one will be able to imply this knowledge, express themselves more freely and regain control of their own identity.

We do need to develop our sense of humour, because all advantages of it can not be overstated, emotional, motivational, cognitive, social, and physiological. In psychology there is a separate therapy that is called laughter therapy, there are also separate clubs,
Laughter Clubs, where there are no jokes or humor and the focus is on the physical act of laughing only. Analyzing jokes can also be a nice way to improve English ;) Many people see American humour as more physical and English as more verbal. British people often say that Americans don’t get sarcasm. Another common conception among foreigners is that Americans don’t have the ability to laugh at themselves. British humour, on the other hand, is seen as dark, dry, and sarcastic, and more subtle than American one. Mark Twain wrote in ‘How to tell a story’: ‘The humorous story is American, the comic story is English, the witty story is French. The humorous story depends on its effect upon the matter of the telling; the comic story and the witty story upon the matter’. If it is really so, check it watch British and American stand-up comedian ;)

There is no one recipe for all jokes, within one group of people it could be hilarious one, within another it can provoke nothing but crickets chirp. So you should not be afraid of failures. Experiment and enjoy the process. Along with sense of humour, it is worth developing other qualities that support it such as confidence, public-speaking, risk taking, relaxation, positive thinking, sharp wit, being good observer, seeing from different perspective, incongruity.

How to develop:
1. Look for the funny side of situations (exaggerate)
2. Learn some basic jokes.
3. Send funny greeting cards, hang humorous posters on the wall, posts jokes on Twittre, Facebook etc.
4. Learn from friends. Look at friends that you think have a great sense of humour. How do they deal with situations, and what kind of jokes do they make? Is there anything you can take away from their actions?
5. Learn from kids. Spend time with children, and see where they find humour in strange situations. Children’s humour can offer an alternative perspective, and be refreshing if you want to go for a more light-hearted approach occasionally rather than constantly trying to develop jokes for adults.
6. Practice with friends and family
7. Recall several of the most embarrassing moments in your life and don’t be afraid of laughing at yourself!
8. Develop your creativity, in particular linguistic creativity (play with words and meanings)
9. Jeanne Robertson, a humor expert and author of several books on the topic suggests: Hold a comedy festival on the couch (100+ funniest movies of all time); Start a ha-ha Pinterest board or Twitter account; Answer offensive people with humor instead of hostility; See the circus, a movie, a stand-up comic, or a funny play, because laughter is contagious; watch it spread in a live environment; Develop a silly routine to break a dark mood, even something as silly as speaking with a Swedish accent (unless you are Swedish, of course)
10. Every day, make a conscious effort to seek humour.
11. Analyse jokes. Here the structure of a joke ‘Rule of three’ by John Kinde:

  • Same Category/Same Category/Different Category (T-shirt which lists world-class cities: Paris/Tokyo/Fargo).
  • Expected Trait/Expected Trait/Unexpected Trait (She was pretty, she was shapely, she was a man).
  • Something Everyone Loves/Something Everyone Loves/Something Everyone Hates (A Las Vegas wedding package contains everything you will need; music, flowers, a divorce document).
  • Ordinary/Ordinary/Ridiculous (I go to Las Vegas to see the shows, eat at the buffets and visit my money).
  • Extreme/Extreme/Ordinary (Speaking to thousands, appearing on Oprah, taking a nap).
  • Rhyme/Rhyme/Rhyme (rhyming sets a pattern).

12. Keep humour diary.

Comedians are not extraordinary people. They just very observant people who can put a clever spin on what they see. A funny person is sharp witted because he is aware of his surroundings. Pay attention to sorts of odd things once you make this a habit. Furthermore, if you are looking for inspiration from the professionals, there is an excellent book out by Melvin Helitzer called "Comedy Writing Secrets."  

Here are more resources:

1. Taking Humor Seriously http://www.humorproject.com/doses/default.php?number=1
2. Rowan Atkinson talks about what makes visual comedy funny https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9fsn6lQBV4
3. Laughter in psychotherapy http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-therapy/201312/laughter-in-therapy
4. How kids develop sense of humour http://www.todaysparent.com/toddler/funny-girl/
5. Video Robert Mankoff, cartoon editor of the New Yorker, explains how humor works https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgzFwTG_-wQ         

As Charlie Chaplin said, ‘A day without a laughter is a day wasted’. Don’t waste your day, be healthy, be creative, be positive and be funny ;)  

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