Humor can be a valuable tool for dispersing and healing anger. In part, it diffuses the tension that builds when one is upset or frustrated. Muscles tense, blood pressure rises, and other physiological changes occur within the human body. With the rise of stress hormones comes the increased risk of heart disease and other cardio-vascular issues. Humor boosts the immune system, triggers the release of endorphines (a powerful and natural feel-good chemical), improves the function of the blood vessels and blood flow, and creates an overall sense of well-being.
While humor occurs naturally in some of us, for others it is not readily found. And yet, according to my guest, Allen Klein, there are ways people can incorporate humor into their daily lives. In his workshops, Allen teaches his students to use exaggeration as a method to reduce anger; “Imagine the worst that could happen,” he asks. “And if that occurred, then what? And what would come next? And next?” With each response, the scenario becomes more and more absurd. Looking back at the original source of upset and where it has ultimately led, the subject can better see the ludicrousness in it.
Allen also recommends using props. He carries rubber clown noses with him and when necessary, passes them around to lighten up a situation. When couples argue, he recommends each partner putting on a clown nose. It’s hard to be angry and fight when both parties look ridiculous.
Use signs, funny quips, and posters as a source of daily reminders to laugh. And use funny photos of loved ones to remind you of a joyous time. Fond memories will reignite those emotions.
And above all, look for opportunities to laugh – they’re all around you in everyday life situations. Allen recommended the following acronym:
L: Let go. Forgive the past and all those involved. Let go of shame, bitterness, fear or whatever else is holding you back.
A: Attitude: develop one of optimism and gratitude. Be grateful.
U: You are the only one who can do this. It’s up to U.
G: Go do it. Ideas don’t change the world. Actions do.
H: Humor is all around us. Seek it out. If you can’t find it, make some of your own.
Remember, you have a choice: you can be angry or laugh. Look for every excuse to laugh. You’ll feel better and those around you will as well.
Visit Allen Klein at www.allenklein.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org