The Necessity of Humor

With all the focus on and hype about getting healthy these days, I’m surprised at how little people talk about humor.  What good is a healthy lifestyle if you can’t have a laugh once and a while?

The old adage that laughter is the best medicine may not be so far off the mark.  Anyone who has had a seriously good laugh knows how it makes you feel: lighthearted, happy, silly, and less stressed.  Research shows that laughing raises endorphin levels, creating that happy feeling.  Laughing can also reduce pain, boost the immune system, and lower stress!

In my experience, there’s nothing better than having a laugh with your friends.  When you laugh together, you can feed off of each other’s sense of humor for maximum silliness.  I think as we get older, a lot of us forget that being silly is not only okay, but also an essential part of life!

I’d like to share three of my favorite ways to be silly and get a laugh out of life.

1) Killer Bunnies
Yep, Killer Bunnies.  More specifically, Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot.  There’s a lot about this card game that fits my personal brand of humor and fun.  It’s complex while still being easy to learn, and the multiple available expansion decks keep gameplay fresh.  Plus, it’s chock-full of oblique, amusing pop culture references–everything from Back to the Future and Bill and Ted to Red Dwarf and Dukes of Hazard.  I especially love to bring my deck when hanging out with friends.  The looks people will give this game when you play it in public are priceless.

2) Random humor
I have a close friend who is one of the most random people on earth.  I’ll admit that, at first, I couldn’t always see the humor in this, but over time she’s taught me to appreciate how truly great a dose of randomness can be.

Take, for example, viral videos like Charlie the Unicorn and They’re Taking the Hobbits to Isengard:

Charlie goes to Candy Mountain


Of course, the humor in randomness has a far broader scope than that.  Random can be stupid and silly or dry and witty; both are great in their own way as long as they’re funny.  Take this video from Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry’s British variety show, A Bit of Fry and Laurie (warning: NSFW unless you have a boss with a weird sense of humor):

Despite its potty humor nature, Fry and Laurie deliver the sketch, especially the punchline, with dry British wit and straight faces. How? Beats me; I never saw the punch line coming the first time, and still crack up at it now!

3) Kid stuff

For some sad reason, there comes a point in most people’s lives when they believe they’re “too old” for activities like coloring, building Lego models, and playing with Play-Doh.  Sure, after a certain age it stops being practical to have “kid stuff” as a major source of entertainment, but I’ve found that taking the time to do something you enjoyed when you were little has several benefits:

  • It reminds you how it felt to be a kid and can bring back memories of other fun times in your childhood. 
  • Engaging in an uncomplicated creative activity forces your brain to slow down and focus.  This is especially important in today’s “adult” world, where things have a tendency to become overwhelming.
  • Things like crayons and Play-Doh are meant to engage kid’s artistic sides; why not yours?  You’ll find yourself breaking away from the more complex ideas of adulthood and thinking in simpler terms, which can give your brain a much-needed rest.

So don’t be afraid to be silly, goofy, lighthearted, and random!  Mixing a healthy dose of levity into your day whenever it’s appropriate is one of the best ways to unwind, relax, and remind yourself not to take life too seriously.  Make time to laugh with friends, or indulge your own sense of humor after a long day at work.