Grasp the comic side: because laughing is good for you

Throwing it into laughter when going through a difficult period, grasping the comic side of the situation certainly does not solve it, but it is still a tool to make a break from pain and change your point of view. She explains it Jenny Jägerfeld: Swedish psychologist, wrote the children’s book Miss Comedy Queen. Can a laugh change the world, or maybe not? (De Agostini). The protagonist is Sasha, 12, a suicidal mother, a great weight in her heart and an eccentric project to mourn: to become the queen of cabaret, a comedy queen, in fact. She does not want to cry but to have funlaugh instead of sobbing.

Why in the novel Miss Comedy Queen mix tears and laughter?

Laughing is a powerful self-defense mechanism, especially in times of pain, worry, or anxiety. I have noticed this with my patients: it is quite common to hear them make a joke and see them laugh when they are telling heavy events. This is not a paradox, it is in the hilarious ideas that they have the right detachment to see things in an easier perspective. This is the sense of the usefulness of laughter, liberating and encouraging: it allows a break from difficulties and, at the same time, helps to reconsider reality from a different perspective.

Does happiness make you anxious?

Realistically, laughter is not a magic potion nor a miracle medicine that undoes all difficulties. Those, when there are, remain. But making fun of yourself or a situation interrupts the flow of negative thoughts, makes you see things more objectively, full of energy. Because it makes us confident in the future, that we can do it, that it will be easier to move forward. It is a creative solution to problems, as it allows for other life opportunities. In short, a joke is reflection and funin a single instant.

But are we born or can we learn to be witty?

Most funny people are like that, they have in their DNA the ability to grasp the funny side of things and return it in the right time and with the right words. However, it can also get fun. Here, the family air that reigns plays a lot. If a two- or three-year-old says something that makes adults laugh and realizes that the gimmicks about him grab attention, he will be led to develop the farcical side of him. Growing up, then, he will have to give the right balance to the joke: one person who laughs always and in any case, is not credible. Just as it is not pleasant who never gives a smile to anyone or anything.

How important is it to raise children with a sense of humor?

The important thing is to make the kids understand that in any situation there is always a comic quid. So, play down is fine, it can help to reduce problems, to have confidence in oneself (and in life), to grow with less effort. But it doesn’t have to be: you can be excellent parents and raise gorgeous kids even in an austere climate!

How do you educate a child to be ironic?

Pointing out comic things in small daily events. Did we look bad in a selfie? Let’s show it, it’s a lesson in lightness. Or let’s watch a funny scene from a movie together: fuel the comic streak. Then, we take note of the funny phrases the kids say, to encourage them to be witty. If we have to scold them, let’s do it nicely, it will make them more indulgent in the face of their (and others’) defects and able to joke about them.

And let’s get them used to listening to the human environment in an active way. Humor, in fact, can be seen in many different ways, but it always feeds on empathy: only those involved in the situation they are experiencing are able to grasp the funny sides of the matter.

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