Funny or die.
A friend of mine recently confided, “We Indians are in general a very serious bunch of people.” I have a serious problem with that.
As one of CT Indian Life’s only non-Indian contributors, I try to offer a different perspective on matters of interest to the Indian community. In fact, I take pride in seeing the whole world from a different angle. As a humor writer it’s my job to lighten the mood by throwing a custard p pie in the face of everyday situations. Here are 10 tips for relieving stress through humor.
1. Laugh Every Day
Find something to turn the corners of your mouth up every day, even if it’s plastic surgery. Whether it’s highbrow, lowbrow or unibrow, we all have different triggers that make us laugh. My hot button happens to be sarcasm. (You can find it by opening the metal plate on my back; you’ll need a Phillips-head.) You’ll know by the end of this article whether I found yours. If nothing else, hopefully you’re ticklish.
2. Know Your Audience
Whoever invented the phrase “It’s not a laughing matter” should be beaten with a rubber chicken. The masks of tragedy and comedy, the time-honored symbols of the stage, are together for a reason. You need the latter to survive the former. You just need to know your audience, know your boundaries, and…
3. Know Yourself
Are you one of the “serious bunch?” Is it because you want to be? Or could it be because someone else wants you to be? In Almost the Truth, a documentary about British comedy troupe Monty Python, comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar poignantly describes his fascination with the Pythons and his parents’ disapproval: “You didn’t really want your kid to be influenced by someone who is quite patently a bloke dressed as a woman with a high voice.” Don’t let others decide what’s right for you.
4. Self-Deprecating Humor
In my experience, the easiest way to laughter is to make fun of yourself. Whether I’m joking about my weight or revealing something stupid I said to a potential girlfriend, self-deprecating humor sells, with bonus points if I hurt myself. To quote Ella Wheeler Wilcox, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; rip your pants jumping over a fence and they’ll hyperventilate.” OK, I made that last part up.
5. Others-Deprecating Humor
Let’s face it, it’s no fun to the be the butt of the joke all the time. Once you know those boundaries, cross them. Learn from my mistakes – giving the CEO an atomic wedgie during a board meeting is not the best place to start. However, a bit of good-natured ribbing can show others that you care about them.
6. Work at Your Laugh, Laugh at Your Work
Are you the type of person whose main source of stress is their job? We call that type of person a “human.” We spend 40 hours a week at our jobs (80 if my boss is reading this), most of it under heavy stress. If you can’t laugh at your work, work on your laugh. Find a colleague with a similar sense of humor and share a walk, a coffee or even an instant message packed with J.
Laughter is contagious, and it multiplies when you share it. Like chicken pox. Smile and you will often see that smile reflected back at you. If not, throw that custard pie. At least one of you will be laughing. Just be sure to run while they’re still wiping their eyes.
8. Slap People With Fish
Physical comedy is the great unifier of diverse cultures. Remember Sanjeev Bhaskar? In the end, even his strait-laced mother could not resist Python’s Fish-Slapping Dance, a simple, delightfully witty sketch. If this video doesn’t relieve some tension, please start this article over.
10. He Who Laughs Last
What happened to #9? Surprise! I eliminated it. If your mathematical brain always demands a predictable, logical finish, change your perspective. If your current path is stressing you out, make a “you” turn – allow yourself to lighten up by having the rug pulled out from under you.
Laughing every day to relieve stress applies even on the worst day of your life; especially if it’s the worst day of your life. My philosophy is that a life without laughter is not worth living, and I aim to follow that plan until I’m done living, and maybe then some. I don’t even want my grave to be grave. I’d like my tombstone to read, “WATCH YOUR STEP: DEAD GUY.”
Some people will tell you this is not a laughing matter. I say laughing is all that matters.