Humor and Laughter, Your Passage to Quicker, Easier Learning

Creating the Perfect Learning Environment
Article Text: A sense of humor is the bridge and laughter is the vehicle to better comprehension, and improved short and long term memory. Research indicates that using humor increases retention from 15% to 50%. How does humor and laughter enhance our learning process?
Learning is not an activity that is isolated to a classroom. Every day we are students, exposed to a changing world, and required to learn new skills. It could be a new phone system, the remote controls to our entertainment system, or a computer program that paralyzes us. It is our natural tendency to feel intimidated, and tense up when we are faced with the challenge of learning something new. The more uptight we become, the more we adversely affect our ability to think at our highest level of intelligence. Stress triggers a chemical reaction to occur in our brain, which disrupts concentration. When our capacity to pay attention and focus becomes impaired, the performance of memory also declines.

Humor engages our attention. Mental alertness is sparked by discovering, expressing, or appreciating something that is comical, amusing, or absurdly incongruous. At the same time humor excites our mind, laughter relaxes us mentally, emotionally, and physically, and breaks down the learning barriers presented by anxiety, and apprehension. This state of relaxed alertness in an environment where laughter and humor are encouraged is the most conducive to facilitate effective learning. When we free up our attention from preoccupations and distractions, we can devote our full concentration to acquiring new knowledge or developing new skills.

The use of humor builds rapport between the teacher and the student and creates a more relaxed climate. We are naturally drawn to people who are fun to be around and make us feel comfortable. A teacher, who implements humor and can laugh easily, is more inclined to exhibit patience and explore alternative teaching methods. The student is less apt to get frustrated and give up. When learning is fun, we are willing to work harder to achieve our goals. It takes less effort because we are functioning with a higher mental competency.

My husband lives to golf. Larry’s desire that I share his passion for this game was reflected when he gifted me with a flowered golf bag, new golf clubs, pink tees and purple golf balls. Frustrations were mounting for both of us, when my golfing talent was not flourishing with the same intent effort that Larry devoted to instructing me. Preparing to drive hole number 5, and having just been given the command to relax and take my time, I didn’t appreciate the sharpness of Larry’s next remarks, “Hurry up. Take your shot. You are holding up the four-some behind us!”

“Excuse me? Did you want me to relax and take my time, or hurry up and take my shot?” My private golf instructor didn’t see the humor in my response, but I got a chuckle out of saying it. Guess what happened next? One of the most beautiful drives I have ever hit.

Where can you locate the road to quicker understanding and easier learning? Be on the lookout for the Humor Bridge. Once you find it, allow the Laughter Vehicle to carry you over your learning obstacles to attain a firm knowledge, and gain new skills.

Article Signature:
Lois McElravy, Lessons from Lois, works with individuals and organizations who want to learn how to use the power of humor and the magic of laughter to handle the demands and pressures of work and home, adjust to constant change, deal with difficult people, cope with the unpredictable swift pace of life, product positive outcomes and have more fun.

Learning to laugh and “hangin’ on with humor” rescued Lois from the distress and despair surrounding her daily life, and initiated her recovery from a brain injury. Lois’ keynotes and trainings entertain, inspire and stimulate audiences to examine their own response to challenge and adversity. Hilarious personal stories, “Lessons from Lois” impart life-changing insights and equip participants with humor strategies and practical solutions to overcome the seriousness of their life challenges and feel happy.

Her universal message renews hope and motivates others to consistently do small things so they can achieve amazing results one day at a time.

©2012 Lois McElravy, Lessons from Lois – Permission to reprint or repost this article is granted by including the above byline and Lois’ contact information.