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The Power of Humor

"From fart guns and whoopie cushions, to practical jokes and viral videos, laughter unites us as humans." rCoda

Laughter is a global language with no barriers. It is a hidden binding agent. Whether you accidentally trip walking down the stairs in the lobby for strangers to see, or perform a stand up comedy act in a theater full of paying customers, there is power in humor. If I can honestly say I am staying true to myself, I lead through humor. It just seems to diffuse the tension in nearly any situation. Humor sets people at ease and unites us with positive emotions and playfulness.

For those cursed with gelotophobia (the fear of being laughed at), laughter then becomes the cornerstone of resilience. The ability to take a tense or embarrassing situation and sprinkle a little laughter on top (with a witty comeback), to inject resilience rather than humiliation. Laughter is the vocal socialization signal that communicates safety, unity, and joy. Laughter is a euphoric contagion of acceptance. [View: Ultimate Fall Fails 2016] (make sure your bladder is empty before you watch)

"Laughter has the power to deflect the intensity of an uncomfortable social situations to put others at ease." rCoda

On the other end of the spectrum, others are possessed by katagelasticism, (someone that excessively enjoys laughing at others). This is not your practical joker, but rather the person seeking out to make fun of other people at their expense. Extending the chuckles, pointing and laughing only intensifies the embarrassing situation for the victim. This may be a temporary

euphoric high for the tormentor but crosses into the line of bullying.

In his book: Ha! The Science of When We Laugh & Why, Scott Weems a cognitive neuroscientist shares the science behind laughter.

"Even animals use humor as a tool for diffusing tense situations. For example, chimpanzees bare their teeth in laughter during friendly interactions, especially when meeting strangers and forming new social bonds, and dogs, penguins, and even rats have all been shown to give hearty chuckles during rough-and-tumble play."

He performed a study using recordings of these animals that were happy and chuckling during this play. He played the audio recording over the intercom at a dog shelter and here’s what he found. “The recorded noises made during play were broadcast over speakers in the shelter the dogs not only did they became more relaxed but also played more.”

Scott Weems shares some "Did You Know's" on his website,

The same chemicals that give us pleasure during humor are the ones activated by drugs and chocolate?

People who watch funny movies have a higher tolerance for pain?

Sense of humor is closely related to intelligence and problem solving ability?

A huge international study found that the funniest animal is the duck?

Laughter alters the state of mind. You can't be angry and laugh at the same time. Laughter is indicative of playfulness, groups of people, and positive emotions. I mean, who wouldn't want to vocally unite groups of people with humor?

Being a a leader requires being emotionally intelligent enough to realize when humor is necessary to diffuse a situation, or to create memories and inspire. As educators, many of our students are plagued with tragedy and poverty. School is a struggle and their state of mind is real. As school-wide educational leaders we may not be able to cover a class every day, but we do have the luxury of telling a joke each morning during announcements, or walking through classrooms with a silly hat or a backwards shirt just to make kids laugh. Humans cannot laugh on demand, but you can create silly situations that induce laughter in children. Intelligence, problem solving and resiliency are rooted in laughter. I want to be the type of leader that walks in a room and the affective filter of everyone drops because they know I am not going to take anything too seriously, and they may even leave the room in stitches. Laughter is a global human bond, let's capitalize on it!

Now to share the good stuff!!!!

Here are a few ways to infuse a little humor (Disclaimer: These examples are not for kids but rather examples of pure silliness)

Telling a Joke

"A woman has twins, and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named 'Amal.' The other goes to a family in Spain, they name him Juan'. Years later; Juan sends a picture of himself to his mum. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wished she also had a picture of Amal. Her husband responds, ''But they are twins. If you've seen Juan, you've seen Amal.''

Interjecting Subtle Sarcasm

I put more effort into naming my wifi than my first child

The cool thing about naming your kid is that you don’t have to add six numbers to make sure it is available.

Sharing Funny Videos

(Watch all 4 below)

[Less Explicit] Seagulls! (Stop it Now) A Bad Lip Reading of Empire Strikes Back

[More Explicit] Two Drunk Teams Play Football Against Each Other

[More Realistic] Vince Vaughn Talks to Kids

[Most realistic] Honest Airline Commercial

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