Laughter being the best medicine is already a widely held belief. Whether you’re making yourself laugh or the people around you, the sudden change in one’s emotional state can be seen as an extremely effective cerebral hack, breaking a loop of negative emotions and thought patterns. Positive feelings create positive thoughts, which create positive actions, leading to a healthier and happier lifestyle. A research team based at the University of Granada (Spain) have found that even a self-deprecating sense of humour has no ties to low self-esteem or depression. They, in fact, discovered that those who employ a self-deprecating sense of humour tend to be happier and more socially adjusted than the average person.
Jorge Torres-Marín, the study’s co-author said that his team observed, “…that a greater tendency to employ self-defeating humor is indicative of high scores in psychological well-being dimensions such as happiness and, to a lesser extent, sociability”. The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences. The team had assessed 1,068 adults between the ages of 18 and 65, over five different studies, using the Spanish version of the Humour Styles Questionnaire. As well as their initial findings around self-deprecating humour, the Spanish research team also found that Affiliative humour (jokes that the majority of people would find funny) helps strengthen social relationships and self-enhancing humour (making good natured jokes when something bad happens to you) helps one overcome uncomfortable circumstances.
The research team did, however, note the negative indications of self-deprecating humour, such as suppressed anger. “The results suggest that humour, even when presented as benign or well-intentioned, can also represent a strategy for masking negative intentions”, said co-author Ginés Navarro-Carrillo.
The research team intend to do more studies to analyse the cultural differences of humour.
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