Episode 96 – Finding Joy part 3 – Humor
This is the third episode in a series of eight podcasts on creating joy in our lives. The eight pillars of joy are outlined in The Book of Joy by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Dalai Lama. Using humor to lighten a situation can help us to find solutions to the problems we face.
Take away #1
When we focus on the problems, all we see is problems and they will take over and become bigger. Feel your emotions, calm yourself down and focus on the solution, not the problem. Humor is a powerful weapon in helping to calm ourselves down so we can get to a state of mind to be able to focus on the solution.
Take away #2
Connecting with other people – social connection, is one common denominator in all the pillars of joy. Trying to see the humor in a situation, in you, will help you to connect with others. It puts you and those around you at ease. It lessens the drama and allows you to calm down. It brings safety into a situation. Humor connects people on an emotional level. You don’t need to disparage yourself or anyone else. You can laugh at yourself while accepting your humanness and the humanness of everyone around you.
Next time you notice yourself getting defensive, angry, disappointed, or any other hard emotion, ask yourself, “Where can I find the humor in this?” Just notice how this will help you to put other people at ease and the situation will become resolved more quickly.
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This is part three in a series of eight podcasts about finding joy. In this one is about humor. Humor can be your secret weapon. How many times have you heard yourself say, I just want to be happy. Or I just want my kids to be happy.
We are all trying to find happiness. But it seems so elusive to us. If you ever wonder why that is why it seems like it’s so hard to be happy or to find happiness. Happiness is really you know, it’s an emotion, it’s tied to our life circumstances. And if things in our life are not going the way that we think they should be going, and we don’t feel happy. And have you noticed that it seems like if I just accomplished this thing, or if I just had this much money, or if my kids were just doing this, or if my marriage was just like that, then I could be happy.
It’s like happiness lives around the corner from us, but we never quite make it around the corner. I think that’s really interesting that we tend to view happiness as out there somewhere. And it’s really because it’s an emotion that we tie to our life circumstances, how often are your life circumstances exactly the way that you want them to be? Very rarely does that happen, let’s just be honest, it very rarely happens. And it’s actually supposed to be exactly that way.
You know, if we were happy all the time, just like we say we want to be, then we wouldn’t actually know that we were happy. Because we wouldn’t have something to contrast it with. We really need contrast in our lives, to know how we are feeling. If we didn’t have something that was directly opposing happiness, we wouldn’t know we were feeling happy. It’s like we would be just as fish swimming in water, we wouldn’t know that we were in water, because we wouldn’t have something to compare it to.
Now we don’t have control over so many of our life circumstances. And if we tie happiness to our life’s circumstances, then we’re kind of doomed to only be happy, a very small percentage of the time. But we’re really not here to find happiness, as much as we are here on this earth to find joy. Think about the scripture, Adam felt that men might be and men are that they might have joy. We’re here to find joy. Isn’t that interesting? We’re not here to find happiness, we’re here to find joy, to different emotions.
Joy is really tied to how we view our life and our willingness to accept the entire life experience. That includes the part that we like, and the part that we don’t like. But we’re here for all of it. I’m showing up in my own life. I’m willing to accept and be here for myself through this life. It’s a way of engaging with the world. It stems from our willingness to see the world in a way that allows us to learn from everything no matter what is happening. It’s how we handle different difficult circumstances. It’s, it’s what do we do when things are not going the way that we want them to? Those are the things that determine whether we are feeling joy or not whether the stars align and everything is just easy and positive in our life.
So if we view joy as just our ability to accept and embrace the full human experience and be there for all of it. It’s really something that we have a direct ability to create in our own lives. And isn’t that just good news. We don’t have to have things align. The stars do not have to align for us to feel joy. We can To create this by the way that we engage in the world, and with the people in our world, the circumstances that exist in our lives, anytime we see our own efforts, and that they can directly bring change that feels empowering.
If I know that I have the ability to do something about this, then I feel empowered, I feel I’m approaching this from a growth mindset, not from a fixed mindset.
This series that I’m doing this finding joy series is based on the eight pillars of joy that you’ll find in a book called The Book of Joy, by the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the Dalai Lama.
The first week, part one that was all about perspective, it was all about how do we widen our view and see things from a bigger picture.
Week two was all about humility. And sometimes we think of humility. I know that says it in the scriptures that it’s something that we should want, we don’t really view it as something what we want, but I want you to go listen to that episode, if you’re viewing humility as a sign of weakness, because it’s actually the opposite. It’s a sign of strength. It’s a sign of a person who is grounded in who they are, which is awesome. We love to be grounded in who we are, and have confidence in who we are.
This week is about humor, it’s about lightning situations about it’s also directly ties into that humility and perspective, they just all feed off of each other, right? We have to have the first two pillars before we can get to the third one and humor. But it really is about how can we lighten situations, so we don’t view them as so dire.
Humor and humility come from the same root word, as humanity does. And that root word is humus. It’s the earth, the earth that we stand on the lowly sustaining Earth. And it’s the source of all three of these words, humor, humility, and humanity.
Think about that for a minute. So is it any surprise then, that we have to have a sense of humility, to be able to laugh at ourselves. And that when we can laugh at ourselves, it reminds us that we are all human beings living on this earth. And we all sometimes do things that are silly and humorous, and we don’t show up the way that we want it that we want to and that it’s all okay. That we can find humor in the situations in our lives.
Tony Robbins said, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” So whatever you focus on, wherever you are choosing to put your focus, that is where your energy will flow. That is how you will experience your life. That is where you will create more of that thing that you are focusing on. And if you choose to focus on problems, and how hard everything is, and how much you don’t like what is happening, and you want it to be different, you will see more of that, for sure. It will in fact, it will be hard to see anything else.
And when we do that, we get stuck in these really uncomfortable negative emotions. It’s almost like we get into a roundabout in our emotions, we indulge in them and we recreate them over and over again. It’s like a roundabout of emotions, think about driving around a roundabout, and you’re in the inside lane and you just keep circling the same circle over and over and over again, you just recreate the same thing.
And if you did that long enough, you start to drive a rut in the path around that roundabout. And then it’s even harder to get out of right when we have a rut in our brain. We need to learn how to get in the exit lane, so that we can create something different. So we move to the outside lane so we can take an exit. Sometimes that can be really hard to know how to do that.
It can be hard to see past the problem, especially when our problems seems so big. And the problem is filling up our brain. And we feel very overwhelmed. And we feel the tightness in our chest and we feel just the physical emotion in our body. It doesn’t seem sometimes like we can find our way out of it.
So here’s what I want you to do when you Give you a process, you’re ready for it, you might want to write this down.
So grab a piece of paper, write it down.
The first thing we have to do is calm ourselves down. Now have you noticed that when you get really emotionally worked up, that it’s really hard to think of things very clearly, our judgment gets cloudy, our thinking is unclear, we get really confused. Well, there’s a really a biological reason for that. Because when we get really emotionally worked up, our body actually goes into a fight or flight response. And when we are in a fight or flight response, this is what it does. It’s our nervous system.
It’s a nervous system reaction to what’s going on in our world. So it thinks that we have to run or fight in order to survive, it actually thinks that we’re our life is in danger we need to survive right now. So, your body reroutes oxygen away from your brain and into your heart, into your lungs and into your limbs.
One of the reasons actually, that you feel most of your emotions right there in those places, your heart, your lungs, your torso area, and your limbs, we feel so many emotions right there. But we’re thinking, our brain is thinking we need to survive right now. And so we’re not going to prioritize higher thinking, we just need to survive. So when we don’t have access to our higher brain that oxygen is cut off, we need to calm ourselves down.
Okay, do you have that piece of paper, and pencil, and whatever to write with?
First thing is calming yourself down by taking a few slow, deep breaths. Slow down that breathing. Have you noticed when you get really worked up, that you tend to breathe very shallow. Or that maybe you hold your breath. So the two things that we usually find, either we hold our breath, or we breathe very shallow, and that just exacerbates the fight or flight in our bodies. So we need to slow down our breathing and deepen our breathing.
The next thing we do is to name the emotion that we’re feeling. There is such a superpower in naming. This is how I feel I feel sad. I feel overwhelmed right now. I am very angry. There is power in naming an emotion. And don’t use anxious because anxious is usually an umbrella for lots of other feelings. Use find out what find out what feeling is underneath that anxiousness. Lots of times, it’s a feeling of fear. But maybe it’s something different for you. But don’t use anxious. That’s just kind of a catch all phrase that doesn’t allow us to really get to the root of why we’re feeling what we’re feeling. And then I want you to describe it after you’ve named the emotion slowed your breathing down.
Describe it physically, how does it feel in your body? Imagine you’re describing an emotion to someone who has never actually felt an emotion in their entire life. And you have to tell them what this emotion feels like in your body. And you might say, Well, I feel it in my chest. And it feels really hard. And it feels solid and heavy. And it feels kind of like a big bowling ball sitting in the middle of my chest. In fact, it’s about as big of a as a bowling ball. And it’s kind of black and gray. And it’s just sitting there.
Now, I just described it one way, but you listen to what I did. I described where I was filling it, what its shape was, what it felt like, what the color was, what it was doing. Was it moving? Was it stationary? Was it heavy, was it light, you want to give as many descriptive words, describing it physically as you can as you are breathing and putting your focus on that physical feeling in your body. And then give all your attention to that emotion and that physical feeling in your body. Right where you feel it.
Continue to breathe, and let it be there without resisting it. As long as you focus on your body. As you do this. You really have to focus on your body and not on the thoughts in your mind. And you do it without resistance.
These physical feelings will last about one to two minutes and then you’ll notice them to start. They just start fading away. Actually, they don’t usually even last one to two minutes, you might notice them start to fade away. Right away. But the number one mistake that I see people making as this is called feeling your feelings, by the way. But the number one mistake that I see people making, when they’re trying to feel their feelings is that they’re still up in their head, thinking about all the things that cause them to feel the emotion in the first place. So get out of your head, get into your body, feel it in your body, describe it, be with it, let it be okay, that you are feeling the way that you are feeling.
And once your body is calm, you will have a much more clear brain space, to be able to think about a solution. And that’s when you can bring humor in. That’s a perfect time to bring in humor. It’s really hard to do when you’re feeling all that really tense, overwhelm anger, emotions, right? It’s really hard to find humor then. So we have to calm ourselves down first.
Ask yourself, you can even ask yourself a question like, if I were somebody else, what would be funny about this? How is this funny right now? What’s the humor here?
That’s where you can be bringing in humor to help you deal with hard life circumstances and hard emotions. And it’s perfect. It brings in humility, it brings in perspective, it puts you just at a really basic level of how can I find the humor in this and in me, and we’re not trying to find humor and poke fun at other people, that is not going to create the joy that you want to I promise. And you’re going to be damaging relationships. And that destroys joy. So not poking fun at other people at this point. We’re not even poking fun at ourselves, we’re just finding humor in the situation.
And when we do this, we can focus on what we want to have happen. Which we couldn’t access before, when we were all worked up and not adding any oxygen into our higher brain. But when we have calmed down, found some humor, we can put focus on what we want to have happen next.
I was talking to a client the other day, we were talking about this very think about wherever you put your focus, that’s where your energy is going. And that’s where you’re going to create more of, and we were talking about him mountain biking down a hill. And how many obstacles are there in the way as he’s mountain biking, he’s trying not to fall, try not to wreck his bike, right?
There’s so many obstacles, think about all the things that you could run into, on your way down a mountain as you’re biking. And if he focuses on all of those other things that he could run into, then that’s where his energy is going. That’s where his focus is going. That’s where his energy is going. And he’s going to run into those things. He says it happens every time. When I put my focus there. That’s what I ran into.
And I said, “Well, how do you make that not happen then?”
And he said, “I focus on the path that I want to be going on.”
So we focus on where we are going, we focus on, what’s the solution here? What do I want to create? What can I do about this situation right now. And that is empowering. When we calm ourselves down, and we just take ourselves less seriously, we begin to see things differently, we begin to have that perspective, right.
And remember, it’s not about using humor to build yourself up and tear somebody else down. But it is about being kind to yourself through using humor, and being kind to other people. By using humor. It’s about bringing the people around you on the common ground, through lightning, the situation. You know, our emotions can be so intensely negative that sometimes it can seem impossible to find the lightness or the humor at all.
So if that’s you, if it’s something that you’re experiencing, first, go through that process that I just outlined in feeling your feelings, and then go do something that takes your attention in a different direction. redirect your focus, just for a few minutes and give yourself some space.
Sometimes that looks like moving your body in a certain way. Our bodies need to move in order to release a lot of the tension, a lot of the emotion that we’re feeling. We really need to use our body in the way that it wants us to. So that might look like turn on some music and dance, go for a walk, go to the gym, go for a run, go play a sport. Go play your musical instrument. Maybe you grab a journal and you’re like I just really process through journaling then that is awesome, go and do that. But do something that has created good feelings for you in the past and helped you to work through uncomfortable negative emotions. You can even ask yourself, what do I really need right now. And then listen to what your body is telling you. We are so bad in this society about listening to our own bodies, because we have so many hang ups about our bodies that we just want to shut them down. But your body has so much wisdom for you. So listen to it, ask yourself, What does my body need right now?
Take away #1
Here are your takeaways for today. When we focus on the problems, all we see is problems and they start to take over and they become bigger. So feel your feelings, calm yourself down, and then redirect your focus to the solution, not the problem. And humor can be a powerful weapon in helping to calm yourself down and get perspective so that you can get to a state of mind to be able to focus on the solution.
Take away number #2
Connecting with other people. social connection is one common denominator in all the pillars of joy. It’s such a superpower. Try to see the humor in the situation and it will connect you with other people. It puts you at ease, it puts others at ease. It lessens the drama allows you to calm down and bring safety into a situation when you’re with other people. Imagine, have you ever been with somebody who’s really angry and it just feels like you want to? You want to get away from them. You’re not sure if you’re safe? Well, humor dissipates that humor can directly affect that anger, it can’t just de escalate a situation. It connects people on an emotional level. You don’t need to disparage yourself or anyone else to do this. You can laugh at yourself. While accepting your humaneness and the humaneness of everyone around you.
I heard this sentence by one of a coach that I was listening to the other day, her name is Kara Lowentheil. She said she uses this sentence – “Oh, how human of me.” Isn’t that an awesome sentence to remember? Oh, how human of me. It allows us to drop judgment for herself. When we begin to drop the judgment for ourselves. We also learn how to do that for other people who stopped judging them as harshly also.
Here’s your challenge for the week. Notice the next time you feel one of these big emotions, defensiveness, angry, disappointed, sad, any other hurt emotion and ask yourself after you’ve calmed down? Where can I find the humor in this and just notice how this is going to help you put yourself at ease and other people at ease. And you’ll be able to resolve the situation more quickly and with a clear head.
Now, remember, the circumstances of your life are not nearly as important as what you do with those circumstances, how you think and feel about those circumstances. And you get to decide how to think about anything. It is not predetermined that you will think a certain way. Even if even if it feels true to you right now. It is not predetermined, you always have a choice. It is always within your power to choose how you’re thinking about your life circumstances.
Next week, I’m going to do the fourth pillar of joy. The fourth one of the mind the pillar of the mind, which is acceptance, this is going to be a good episode. If you followed along with the Know, Love, Grow series earlier this year, this one is going to sound somewhat familiar to you.
So I am looking forward to sharing acceptance with you. I know as a coach, that acceptance is key to being able to move forward in anything that you’re trying to do. So I look forward to sharing this episode with you.
Until then, have a great week and I will see you next time.
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