Healthy Humor Habits
Hello! I’m Paul Osincup, a comedian and humor strategist, here with some tips to help you bring more laughter into your life.
Humor is a powerful tool that can create positive changes in our thoughts, feelings, behaviors and biochemistry.1 Laughter can also help you manage the everyday challenges of psoriasis.
We’re often told we need to “laugh it off” or “not take things too seriously.” That’s good advice, but easier said than done. The good news is that humor isn’t a talent — rather, humor is a habit. Like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
Here are some humor habits to help get you giggling:
- Laugh at yourself: Did you know that the ability to laugh at ourselves leads to greater psychological wellbeing?2 The next time you trip spectacularly in public… laugh and then take a bow. Consider it a lesson in resilience, and think about how well-adjusted you’re becoming.
- Laugh with others: Crowdsource for humor! People will be happy to oblige. Ask your family, “What’s something funny that happened at work or school today?” Ask your friends to tell you a funny story. Second-hand funny is just as good as experiencing it in person!
- Use your struggles: Sometimes the most frustrating parts of our days can be the best sources of laughter. Look for opportunities to use everyday annoyances — like impossible tasks, difficult friends and even… itching — for comedic inspiration. Try to find the humor in uncomfortable moments and the positive aspects of challenging experiences.
- Exaggerate: You can turn almost any situation into something funny by exaggerating it to a ridiculous level. Try this itchy skin exaggeration: “Sometimes I get so itchy, my dog scratches me behind my ear.”
- Try new activities with others: Lots of laughs can arise when we have new experiences, especially when we’re with other people. Take a comedy class or sign up for that goat yoga class you’ve been thinking about.
Paul Osincup is a humor strategist and speaker with a mission of global workplace happiness. Paul is a former university administrator, but it was his side hustle of stand-up and improv comedy that quickly became a nerdy obsession as he began researching the benefits of humor. Today, Paul helps people intentionally use humor to reduce stress, build resilience, increase influence and boost happiness. Paul’s TEDx Talk, “Leading with Laughter: The Power of Humor in Leadership,” has been viewed more than 200,000 times, and he is a content creator for the mental health and well-being app, Happify. Paul is also President of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, an international organization dedicated to the study and application of humor to enhance health and human performance. Paul’s work has been highlighted in Forbes, Success Magazine and on his mom’s refrigerator.
- Mayo Clinic. Stress Management: Stress Relief from Laughter? It’s No Joke. Accessed May 2019.
- Torres-Marín J et al. Pers Individ Dif. 2018;120:193-201.