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Habits of Mind: Finding humor

Posted April 6, 2016

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” - Victor Borge 

Illustration of the Habit of Mind finding humor Scientists have found that laughing has positive effects on both physiological and psychological functions. When we laugh, our blood vessels relax, stress hormones disperse and the immune system gets a boost. Additionally, laughter releases creativity and provokes higher-level thinking skills, such as anticipating, finding novel relationships, visual imaging and making analogies. Students who have a whimsical frame of mind thrive on finding inconsistencies, perceiving irony and satire, and being able to laugh at situations and themselves. 

We want students to acquire the habit of finding humor in a positive sense (rather than laughing at human differences, ineptitude or violence) so they can distinguish between those situations of human frailty and fallibility that require compassion and those that truly are funny (Dyer, 1997). 

Finding humor is a useful skill because it makes people feel good, brings people closer together and helps people connect ideas and be creative. Common language for this habit includes: merry disposition, laughable, funny, playful, whimsical, pun and irony.