The Humor Deficit Disorder Cure
By Mary Feeley
Why cure Humor Deficit Disorder (H.D.D.)? Because when we use humor, we have the power to transform the negative into the positive. A sense of humor is not just the ability to tell a joke. A sense of humor is an attitudinal perspective, combining both the intelligence and the self-confidence to view and respond to life’s challenges with a healthy dose of irony and absurdity.
A well-timed joke can neutralize emotionally charged, stressful events. Recently, I was flying in a terrible storm and the landing was very rough. Many passengers were visibly stressed and fearful. After a safe landing, the flight attendant calmly announced, “Welcome to Kansas City…I apologize for the bumpy landing, however, it was not the plane’s fault or the pilot’s fault….it was the asphalt. Everyone on the plane responded with the loudness and length of laughter that former standup comics, like myself, ache for. The flight attendant could not control or change what had happened. However, by using the gift of humor, she reframed the negative perception of this experience into a positive one. Her humor diffused the fear and created a powerful and positive image for herself, the crew, the airline and the flying experience.
If you suffer from H.D.D., take heart-- humor is an integral aspect of the human experience and you can learn how to incorporate humor into your own unique communication style. You don’t have to launch yourself headlong into the next staff meeting, ready to offer your first funny bit. Here are some tips for combating H.D.D. and getting you started on your own laugh track.
First, make a commitment to learn more about your comic self. Surround yourself with opportunities for “funny” discovery. Watch comedy shows, movies, tv shows. Read the comics or watch comedians. Find and go participate in the things that make you laugh. Collect funny props, cartoons, coffee mugs, bumper stickers – anything that brings a smile to your face or someone else’s.
Second, find a comrade in comedy. We all need at least one special friend who can point out a humorous perspective when we cannot find it. I have several such treasured friends…and the time we spend in person, on the phone or online is more valuable and more healing than the best doctors.
Finally, keep your attention on what’s happening in the present. The most successful humor occurs spontaneously, and if we are not living in the moment, we miss those humorous opportunities. Humor doesn’t happen in a monologue. It is a dialogue -- one person initiates the humor, another has to respond.
It has been my honor and humbling to be a keynote speaker, trainer and entertainer for some plus twenty years. When I help an organization recover from the deadly disease of Humor Deficit Disorder, I see people reap the benefits of the humor advantage. I see organizations successfully manage the challenges of change, customer service and communication. I love it because it is fun! I take what I do seriously; I don’t take myself so seriously.
Thank you for allowing me to be your humor guru this week. I hope you have learned and laughed! Let us cure Humor Deficit Disorder in our lifetime.