No matter what situation I find myself in, laughter has always brought me through to the other end. Laughter breaks down barriers, both internal and external. In my relationship with my wife, laughter has kept us moving through years, both in celebrating our successes and in moving us through more challenging times.
Recently, Megan and I found ourselves dismayed at the prospect of the summer without air-conditioning, a tree had fallen in the backyard after an evening storm, and we were anticipating a hefty financial load this fall with some impending medical care needs.
Each unexpected event caused even more distress as we worked and re-worked our budget and discussed how to address all of our needs. We each found points of stress, trying to troubleshoot one thing after another.
Megan described this feeling as trying to hold onto what we had and keep all of the bad stuff away. But the reality is that both good and bad comes with each day, and staying grounded in humor lets us move through the ebb and flow of daily life.
Using humor to move through tough conversations takes practice. Here are some useful tools to get you started.
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Setting a Commitment to Ground in Humor
What are you committed to? We make commitments to ourselves and each other all of the time, the most obvious of which is to love one another. But making a commitment to stay grounded in times of distress can be more challenging. Setting a commitment to staying light-hearted is an internal perspective that keeps us grounded to who we are. This may be an internal decision that you commit yourself to privately or it may be a conversation you have with your partner.
Recognizing the Humor Choice Point
Each of us has our own threshold for stress, the place when you’ve had enough. Your breath becomes short, and you begin to panic. Triggers decrease this threshold even more. Becoming aware of triggers and how they affect us, before we fall into the reaction of them gives us an opportunity to choose how we react.
Living in the Perspective of Humor
It may be easy to become aware of the humor choice point, but may be harder to live into humor and laughter in times of distress, acute difficulty, or challenges.
Living in the perspective of humor makes laughter a reality. We let go of trying to control the situation, and we drop our emotional egos and wants. Fully living this perspective allows us to be present with the other, with ourselves, and to be in conversation.
For me, I’ve been working on refining this practice as we work on the budget and deal with life’s rollercoaster rides.
Instead of panicking, we found ourselves discussing the budget over coffee and bagels, each sharing perspectives and pieces, and moving through the challenge to enjoy the rest of the day.
Need a laugh today? Watch this viral video.