This week’s final positive psychology exercise is meant to be fun – or, more specifically, to be funny!
If you took the Values in Action inventory, you might have seen “humor” show up as one of your strengths. The VIA Institute on Character defines humor as:
Humor means to recognize what is amusing in situations, and to offer the lighter side to others. Humor is an important lubricant to social interactions, and can contribute to team building or moving toward group goals. Where other strengths are more or less essential for achieving certain types of goals or dealing with certain types of problems, humor is rarely an essential component to positive social interactions, but it is often a desirable one. It is also a valuable method of coping with distressing situations.
Humor involves the ability to make other people smile or laugh. It also means having a composed and cheerful view on adversity that allows an individual to see its light side and thereby sustain a good mood.
Today’s humor-based intervention is an adaptation of the Three Good Things exercise I shared earlier, in which you will focus on funny things from your day. I have also included several links to things I think are funny. I’d love it if you shared yours!
Today’s Positive Psychology Exercise: Three Funny Things
Write down three funny things you heard, saw, did, or experienced today. Think about the things you found really funny and describe how they made you feel. Don’t just think about these things – make sure to write them down, using as much detail as possible. Describe the event, making sure to include what happened, what you did or said, what other people did or said, and how you felt.
Here is a short set of links that made Dr. Sockol laugh this week (I cannot guarantee you’ll also find them funny!):
- An econ professor said the word “beef” 125 times in a single lecture, and one of his students made a video of all of them.
- How to Talk to Babies About Marxist Theory
- A very talented family wrote an excellent lockdown-themed parody of One Day More from Les Miserables.
- Some people are struggling more with the transition to remote work than others. This boss accidentally turned herself into a potato in a team meeting.
Wellenzohn, S., Proyer, R. T., & Ruch, W. (2018). Who benefits from humor-based positive psychology interventions? The moderating effects of personality traits and sense of humor. Frontiers in Psychology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00821
Abstract: The evidence for the effectiveness of humor-based positive psychology interventions (PPIs; i.e., interventions aimed at enhancing happiness and lowering depressive symptoms) is steadily increasing. However, little is known about who benefits most from them. We aim at narrowing this gap by examining whether personality traits and sense of humor moderate the long-term effects of humor-based interventions on happiness and depressive symptoms. We conducted two placebo-controlled online intervention studies testing for moderation effects. In Study 1 (N = 104) we tested for moderation effects of basic personality traits (i.e., psychoticism, extraversion, and neuroticism) in the three funny things intervention, a humor-based PPI. In Study 2 (N = 632) we tested for moderation effects of the sense of humor in five different humor based interventions. Happiness and depressive symptoms were assessed before and after the intervention, as well as after 1, 3, and 6 months. In Study 2, we assessed sense of humor before and 1 month after the intervention to investigate if changes in sense of humor go along with changes in happiness and depressive symptoms. We found moderating effects only for extraversion. Extraverts benefitted more from the three funny things intervention than introverts. For neuroticism and psychoticism no moderation effects were found. For sense of humor, no moderating effects were found for the effectiveness of the five humor-based interventions tested in Study 2. However, changes in sense of humor from pretest to the 1-month follow-up predicted changes in happiness and depressive symptoms. Taking a closer look, the playful attitude- and sense of humor-subscales predicted changes in happiness and depression for up to 6 months. Overall, moderating effects for personality (i.e., extraversion) were found, but none for sense of humor at baseline. However, increases in sense of humor during and after the intervention were associated with the interventions’ effectiveness. Thus, we found humor-based interventions to be equally suited for humorous and non-humorous people, but increases in the sense of humor during the intervention phase could serve as an indicator whether it is worth continuing the intervention in the long-term.