Your sense of humor protects you against the victim mentality

A resilient sense of humor is one of the most valuable assets a single person can possess.

If you don't see the absurdities of life, you can easily become grouchy and cynical. Even worse, if you don't learn to laugh, you can start feeling like a victim, as if the entire world is out to get you.

It isn't.

But what if things haven't been going your way for a long time? What if you're ill, unemployed, lonely or depressed? Is it humanly possible to have a sense of humor during hard times?

A sense of humor needs nourishment

sense of humor

Like a growing plant, your sense of humor needs nourishment or it will soon wither. Go too long without laughing and it gets harder and harder. Soon nothing seems funny to you. Anger replaces joy. Happiness becomes a memory instead of a daily occurrence.

That's no way to live. It's during hard times that you need your sense of humor most. Many years ago, when I had cancer and was struggling through radiation treatments, my aunt gave me a joke book. It was just what I needed. When I read the ridiculous stories and punchlines in it, it was like a spring shower for my soul. My languishing outlook grew fresh again and raised my spirits. It gave me new strength to go on.

For a long time after my father died, I felt very sad. I missed him so much I found it hard to laugh. But eventually God and time healed me. Gradually I found my way out of the darkness.

We need to be open to laughter, to seeing the silliness of things that are taken too seriously. To nourish our laugh vines, we need to give ourselves permission to enjoy life again. Grief over a loss is absolutely necessary, but it shouldn't go on forever. Life is richer with laughter.

Conquering your fear of fun

Some people, it seems, are almost afraid to have fun. They think it's undignified. They have the odd idea that others will think less of them if they act goofy. How wrong is that?

There are times for seriousness, true, but not all the time. Stuffed shirts who are afraid of looking silly are not authentic people. They're putting on a front, more concerned with impressing others than with being themselves. That kind of life is tiring.

God created us to be genuine and honest. If someone raises an eyebrow when you act funny, so what? That's their problem, not yours.

I've been blessed with relatives who like to laugh. When we get together, we yuck it up and have a good time. When it's time to leave, we all feel better about life.

How to restore your sense of humor

Learn to appreciate foolishness. Keep watching comedy TV shows or movies until you find something that strikes you funny. Lots of it is trash, but some of it will make you guffaw until your sides ache.

Loosen up. People who think life should be all serious, all the time have a narrow mind. They're missing out on the amazing power of laughter, which can heal not only your body but also your soul. If you can help it, don't hang out with folks who don't have a sense of humor.

Be brave enough to forget your troubles, at least for a while. They don't need your attention 24/7. They'll be there when you want to start worrying about them again. If you relax your mind with a fun diversion, you might even come up with some solutions.

Remember that you have control over your thoughts, not vice versa. Why wouldn't you want to fill your mind with pleasant things?

Finally, cultivate the priceless gift of laughing at yourself. If you can, you'll immediately take 50% of the stress out of life. You'll be healthier, less tired, and you'll approach problems with a more optimistic outlook.

Nurture this precious gift God has given you. Exercise your sense of humor and you'll enjoy a happier, more satisfying life--and so will everyone around you.

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