Many people make the mistake of dismissing humour as a display of childish, awkward, immature, and nonsensical behavior when, in fact, humour is a necessity in our everyday existence which, most of the times, we cannot afford to live without.
Imagine a stern, up-tight teacher who is always absorbed in teaching materials and does not even try to let the students rest and unwind during lessons. Such teachers, who are often described as boring, only demand silence in the class room, concentrate on teachings, and never deviate from his or her routine. Such a monotonous existence becomes boring, redundant and a virtual imprisonment.
Similarly, a bible thumping priest who screams scathing words of disdain and rebuttal at his flock for five hours without even spicing his sermon with humor should not be surprised to find his entire congregation fast asleep when he finally comes down to earth.
The Nigerians have a saying that humour is palm oil with which words are eaten. Humor has and continues to be a pivotal tool used to spread messages to an attentive audience.
But what exactly is the true meaning of humour? According to a research by Dr Steven M. Sultanoff, a mirthologist who is also a clinical psychologist, humour is any intervention that promotes health and wellness by stimulating a playful discovery, expression and appreciation of the absurdity or incongruity of life’s situations.
In other words it also means taking reality situations and turning them into satire. Sultanoff further illustrates that humour is the capacity to perceive, appreciate, or express what is funny, amusing, incongruous and ludicrous. The uselessness of humour makes it more essential. Like they say, laughter is the best medicine; humour will always make us giggle or laugh our lungs out and ease us out of our everyday life pressures and tensions.
Dr Sultanoff further states that humour is a healthy way of feeding distance between one self and their problem, a way of standing off and looking at one’s problem with perspective.
Children, who are always regarded as the free spirits, are the best purveyors of humor. When a child gets away with something he would often be perceived as humorous.
Although humour is crucial in our lives, one has to be careful how they and when to use humor. Humour can be used if one is in a strong relationship, if the environment is socially appropriate or when one uses humor to poke fun at something but not at another person.
Humour can have its short comings, especially if it is used inappropriately, like when down grading others, using humor that can cause emotional turmoil, like, for example passing jokes that are tribalistic, gender biased, or mocking other religions. Healthy humour has to stimulate wit and laughter. Hurtful humor creates tension.
One should always be cautious of hurting his listeners’ emotions. One should rather make fun of himself or a particular situation instead of trampling on others emotions.
Furthermore, humour exposes the
children in us. It is essential to our mental health as we are able to laugh and affiliate with other people easily. It can stimulate communications and even change our perceptions of the world. Humour helps us by replacing distressing situations with pleasurable feelings. Humour can also make us socialize easily with different people.
Today humor has become big business with comedians like Bernie Mac, Cedrick the Entertainer, Chris Tucker, Terry Crews, Jim Carey, and Mr Bean dominating the movie business. Locally Ribcracker, David Kau and Dignash are a source of pride for us.
Humour is a powerful tool that can relieve our tensions, put a smile across our hearts and help us find the beauty and fun in life. It helps us to temporarily take a break from the hardships of everyday living. It is very crucial in our lives.
So laugh a little… and laugh a lot.