Can laughing at yourself be good medicine?
Cracking a few jokes with friends can always brighten your day, but who knew cracking a few jokes at yourself can actually make you happier?
Researchers analyzed various types of humor in 1,068 Spanish adults aged 18–65.
In the past, most studies have indicated that self-mockery, also known as self-defeating or self-deprecating humor, was linked to negative psychological effects. The results of this study reveal just the opposite.
Researchers found that those who engaged in self-defeating humor actually showed high levels of happiness and psychological well-being.
Researcher Jorge Torres-Marín explained that these implications may have something to do with cultural or individual differences.
“The results, as well as being consistent with the positive connotations traditionally attributed to the act of ‘laughing at oneself’ in our country, also suggest that the effects of self-defeating humor on well-being may differ depending on where the research takes places,” Torres-Marín said in a press release. “Consequently, we believe it is necessary to conduct new studies aimed at analyzing potential cultural differences in the use of this kind of humor.”
Although humor may be different across cultures, the sound of laughter is a universal language, and the ability to laugh at yourself does show positive effects, adds Dr. Kevin Krippner, licensed clinical psychologist with Advocate Medical Group in Bloomington, Ill.
“In general, people who have a sense of humor are happier people,” says Dr. Krippner. “Being able to laugh at yourself is important because it allows us to feel better about our mistakes and imperfections, rather than being too self-critical.”
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