Have you laughed today?
The average 4-year-old laughs as many as 300 times per day. In contrast, it takes the average 40-year-old two and half months to laugh that much.
For most of us, being an adult equals seriousness because we want to be perceived as professional and in control. Therefore, we let go of the sense of levity that connects us to other people and helps us produce “happy” hormones like dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins which are good for our mental and emotional health; and lowers cortisol, lowering stress.
I participate in a public speaking club called Toastmasters. When I deliver speeches, I get the same feedback: “It would have been nice to include a funny commentary or even a joke.”
The evaluator explains that is how we connect with audiences. (Another feedback is -when appropriate- to start with a question to engage the audience. Now, look at my first line J )
I’m having some difficulties breaking the “serious” pattern when writing. I come from a journalistic background where giving facts in a succinct fashion is commendable, but I’m persevering.
I bought an audiobook (Humor, Seriously) on the subject and it’s making me realize levity is a muscle that can be developed. This ability is related to not taking yourself so seriously, and even laughing at yourself.
Based on my experience and that of my clients, to be able to laugh at yourself can be good when communicating with others, but it’s paramount when communicating with ourselves.
Many of us tend to be hard on ourselves and say things we would never tell our friends, let alone an acquaintance.
We’ve learned to motivate ourselves with harsh inner talk (aka Inner-Critic), but this method backfires most often than not because we become stressed out and creatively blocked.
What works is to stop taking ourselves so seriously and start laughing at our shortcomings while reminding ourselves that “nobody’s perfect.” If nobody is perfect, we have permission to make mistakes too.
It works wonders for me. It stops my Inner-Critic on its tracks, and it makes me laugh.
It doesn’t mean I’m planning on getting complacent. It’s just a smarter strategy because from levity I’ll be more prone to find a creative solution, and from self-compassion and kindness I’ll be better equipped to make amends or auto correct.
No wonder Albert Einstein said: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
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