John H. Thurman Jr., M.Div. M.A., LPCC
In the past two articles we reviewed the overall benefits of Lightening Up Your Relationships, today, I will give you five proven tips you can use to lighten the load and enjoy the road in your relationship.
The benefits of humor and laughter to a relationship have been shown to improve physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. When you are relaxed and energized those closest to you also become energized.
So here are 4 the tips: (this is adapted from Laughter is the Best Medicine)
1. Make sure both of you are in on the joke. Humor and playfulness can strengthen a relationship – but only when both of you are in on the joke. When playfulness is one-sided, it could be cloaked sarcasm, which is a form of anger. Playful and fun communication in a relationship should be mutually funny and enjoyable. Hint: If your partner is not laughing – it is not funny and might be hurtful.
2. Learn to use humor to defuse conflict. This is one of the tools Angie, and I had developed over the years. One that our counselor encouraged. When things heat up in your relationship, one quick way to defuse the situation is by inserting a little humor and playfulness into the situation. When used appropriately it can help turn the energy of the conflict into a place of shared intimacy and fun.
3. Don’t use humor to mask other emotions. As I stated earlier, humor, laughter, and playfulness are proven resilience enhancers when times are tough. However, there are times when humor is not healthy – mainly when used as a way to avoid or cover up painful emotions. If you tend to use humor in this way, it will backfire. Why? Because you create confusion and mistrust in your relationship when your tone, timing, or intensity is off. If humor is the only emotion, you know how to express, working on some other normal emotions such as sadness, fear, anxiety, and anger.
4. Develop your sense of humor, playfulness, and joy by looking at what you already do as a couple that is fun or playful. Here are some ideas:
• Telling jokes or funny stories
• Watching funny movies, TV shows, or You Tube™ videos
• Reading the funny pages
• Dancing around to cheesy music
• Go to a comedy club
• Spend time with funny people
• Goof around with kids
• Being silly
5. Want to increase your laughter and joy capacity? Read Wednesday’s Blog.
Have fun lightening up your relationship this week.
© 2015 John H. Thurman Jr.