Have you been exhausted, anxious or just plain stressed lately? Has the current focus on common core standards, accountability and insane politics put you over the edge? This is your lucky day! Step right up for a sure-fire remedy guaranteed to bring vitality and energy to teaching and learning. You will be amazed by the immediate results gained from a dose of humor.
Directions: Take frequently as needed for depression, bad mood, loneliness, anger and stress. Humor can also help improve relationships with administrators, parents and students. May be especially helpful in coping with difficult people. Keep in reach of children.
Warning label: Excessive use may cause tears. Can be contagious. Humor is more than the snake-oil skill of telling jokes. The research addressed here focuses on many preliminary findings, and could be biased toward the positive benefits of humor. Be absolutely certain that the drug is of the positive and healthy variety. Negative humor will not provide these benefits.
- Memory improvement: All learning must go through our emotional filter. Humor is an extremely powerful ingredient. Want kids to remember what you are teaching? Incorporate humor into all aspects of the learning process. Example: An eighth-grade social-studies teacher assigned each of his students a portion of a chapter to analyze. Students were invited to create a joke, riddle or pun test question based on their section. Thus the entire test on the civil war was filled with humor. Kids actually loved taking that test and (by the way) remembered the material.
- Mood booster: Laughter oxygenates the brain and exercises the abdominal muscles. Sharing laughter with others can create extraordinary feelings of empowerment. The numerous physiological benefits of humor are reviewed in “Using Humor to Maximize Learning (Morrison, 2008).
- Anxiety relief: Why did Miss Tomato turn RED? Because she saw Mr. Green Pea! This joke is a favorite of 6-year-olds as they frequently laugh about “potty” taboos. Teenagers secretly joke about sexuality topics because they are apprehensive about their changing bodies. Many people laugh about getting old. Whenever we are concerned about life changes, humor can provide needed relief.
- Increased coping skills: Humor has been documented to be helpful in the mourning process. Grieving can include minor loss, such as losing a cell phone, or about more serious issues such as a diagnosis of cancer. Laughter often emerges at funerals when sharing stories about the deceased. There are documented stories about the use of humor for prisoners of war and victims of the Holocaust. When we encounter things that are not under our control, humor can provide the necessary cognitive shift to not only survive, but to thrive.
- Stress reduction: The research on the neuroscience of humor shows actual differences in the MRI scans of people who are experiencing depression as opposed to those who have “happier” brains. Humor has been shown to reduce stress and decrease depression (Morrison 2012).
- Enhanced communication. Humor generates trust among co-workers and can facilitate a reduction in workplace tension, fear and anger. Leaders who employ humor strategies can encourage positive communication and ease tense situations. Educational administrators know that humor is the number one characteristic that students value in teachers.
Review your humor dosage each day. Keep a journal of your reaction to this drug by being aware of what makes you laugh. Your health will improve if you proceed with determination to improve your humor practice. Do not let anything deter you from your goal to have more fun, laugh more and enjoy the humor tonic.
Note: You can start humor treatment immediately with unlimited doses.
- Humergy: The energy that emerges from the joy and optimism of our inner spirit, reflects our unique personality and nourishes a healthy mind/body balance (Morrison 2008).
- Play: Critical for improving minds and bodies of all ages.
- Fun: Activates the 3 “E”s of engagement, energy and enthusiasm.
Other Important Information: When using this product — excessive laughter may occur. Ignoring this side affect may lead to further complications. Seek immediate medical assistance if laughter continues for longer than four hours.
Mary Kay Morrison, a veteran educator with decades of classroom and administrative experience, is an independent consultant who works in the field of humor studies. Ideas for improving your humor practice can be found in Mary Kay’s books, “Using Humor to Maximize Living,” “The Links between the Positive Emotions and Education” and “Using Humor to Maximize Living.” For links to the research supporting the use of humor in learning, visit Humor Quest. Check out her blog Choosing To Teach With Good Humor. Mary Kay serves as president-elect of the nonprofit Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor and is the founder and director of the AATH Humor Academy. Contact Mary Kay at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @marykaymorrison.