“Let’s Lighten Up, Shall We?,” For the Strength of Youth, Oct. 2022.
People love to laugh. And that’s a good thing, because life is often funny. Here’s just one example:
Autocorrect is a software feature in phonetic languages that detects misspelled words and replaces them with correctly spelled words while you type. It can be quite useful, but it has also provided plenty of chuckles.
A young woman named Megan wanted to send a picture of her dog to a friend and say that her dog says hi. (You know Megan—she’s cute like that.) Autocorrect intervened. So, instead of “Hi,” her dog said, “Juice.” Megan’s friend may have wondered why a dog would say that, so Megan sent some laughter emojis and explained what was going on.
A young man named Kyle had a swipe-to-type feature that always changed “about” to “shot.” “As you can imagine, that might leave the wrong impression,” says Kyle. “‘What do you think about Joey?’ suddenly becomes ‘What do you think shot Joey?’” Yikes! Kyle had to be careful that nobody got “shot.” But he saw the humor in it.
Another young man named Ben was texting with his friends and tried to write, “Me neither,” but it was sent out as “Me burger.” Odd. But they made the best of it. “We all sent each other pictures of cheeseburgers,” says Ben.
Facing life with good humor can have positive effects. For example, these misadventures with autocorrect may help people be a little more humble and forgiving and not so quick to judge.
Good humor can be therapeutic. It can make life a little easier to bear. As an Apostle once said: “The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable.”1
The scriptures say that “to every thing there is a season,” including “a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4). When it’s one of those times, there are a number of positive things that good humor can do to help you. Here are just three.
Release pressure. When people are stressed or anxious, a little good humor can be like a release valve for the pressures of life. It’s not a cure-all, but it’s a well-known way to help people calm their emotions.
Give a healthier perspective. Sometimes we need to follow the advice to “lighten up.” With good humor, we can remember what’s really important in life. Some things just aren’t worth getting upset over.
Bond people together. Sharing good humor is definitely a bonding experience. It can strengthen relationships. It can help people feel accepted.
Good humor isn’t just about telling jokes. It’s about allowing yourself and others to feel at ease. Here are some ideas for developing good humor (while following the principles in the table below).
Remember something that made you laugh. Then tell another person about it.
When someone else feels embarrassed, tell them about a time you felt that way—and how it turned out OK. If you can tell it in a funny way, do it.
Watch babies and toddlers, especially when they laugh. Seriously. They’re hilarious. Try to find that same pure joy in life.