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Poking Fun at Our Pain

Seeing the Humor in Situations We are Powerless to Change
Article Text: “As you know, the government takes 40 percent of what you make. The other 60 percent, of course, is taken by the gas stations,” jokes Jay Leno, who regularly opens The Tonight Show by poking fun at current events.
Why do we laugh about the high price of gasoline, or other sensitive topics that hit a nerve? One theory of why we laugh is called the “Incongruity Theory,” expecting one outcome and another occurs. This same principle causes major stress. Most of us hold an expectation of how our life should unfold. Without any warning and without our consent, life-changing events throw us for a loop. We are forced to endure predicaments which we are blameless from initiating. When life isn’t treating us fairly, frustration and tension builds. Humor provides a healthy release for negative emotion. Experience teaches us, when we are powerless to change our situation, we might as well laugh about it.

Laughing about high gas prices:

releases tension… caused by our frustration of not having any control with high prices.
deals with our irritation… because we rely on this resource and can not do without it.
adjusts our perspective… protects us from feeling personally attacked or targeted by recognizing we are all affected.
calms the fear of our finances…laughing in the face of fear, gives us a mental break from the panic and worry of reality for a moment, and enables us to concentrate on solutions to adapt – car pooling, riding the bus, planning our errands more efficiently.
soothes the pain… of our pocketbook at the pump.
diffuses anger… going to the gas station doesn’t have to ruin our day.
helps us cope… by joking about it, instead of letting it get the best of us, restores our power and enables us to overcome the challenge.
What causes your pain? Setbacks caused by learning a new computer system, enormous workloads, inadequate budgets, feeling unappreciated or unnoticed, health issues, balancing home and work, personal relationships, or raising a family, to name a few?

My husband and I selectively offer insights and advice to our four grown children, who don’t always pounce on our wisdom. Regardless, we have suffered from their pain and weathered dilemmas that spring up out of their decisions. Not long ago, our 24 year old son thanked me for lending my ear. He confided, “Mom, you don’t know how many times you have prevented me from doing something really stupid.”

My stunned facial expression prompted Andy to reiterate,” I can see that you don’t believe me. Trust me. I not only hear what you say, but I follow your advice.”

If I had not been “dumb-struck” by his revelation, I would have asked, “Do you mind putting what you just let slip into writing, so I may frame it for future reference?”

Is it possible we maintain a tiny bit of influence over seemingly uncontrollable situations? Be assured, developing our sense of humor equips us to see the funny, when there is no funny, so we can chuckle about the ironies of life. And, laughter can take the sting out of some of the painful situations we have yet to overcome.

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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. http://www.lessonsfromlois.com