On a particularly frustrating day a few weeks ago, instead of calling upon an extra kickboxing session or a glass of wine, I found myself reaching out to two of my closest friends instead. “Rough day,” I quickly tapped out in a message. “I need something to cheer me up.”
My inbox was soon flooded with hilarious statements, GIFs and all around tomfoolery. Within minutes I found myself feeling more light-hearted than I had felt all day – and all because of their innate ability to know exactly how to make me laugh.
Chances are, I’m not alone: We all have that one person in our lives who, no matter the circumstances, can put a smile on our otherwise scrunched face. Humour is a coveted trait; we’re almost naturally wired to look for it. One small study suggests that we have the capacity to understand humour in our first year of life.
But while we all may have the capabilities for the funny trait, it takes a special kind of person to make an entire group erupt into a fit of laughter. Here are six signs you’ve got an amazing sense of humour:
You Make Laughing A Priority
As the old saying goes, “life’s better when you’re laughing” — and no one knows that more than good-humoured individuals. Those who have a good sense of humour not only see the value in making others laugh, but they prioritize laughter themselves. And as a result, they’re healthier and happier for it: Studies show that smiling instantly boosts your mood and laughing can soothe tension and melt stress.
You Practice Self-Acceptance
Not all of us can be like Jennifer Lawrence (although we wish) — a person who is so open to their faults they publicly make fun of their pitfalls — but people with a light-hearted attitude do practice more self-acceptance than most. Good-humoured individuals embrace their flaws and laugh them off (and let them go) in a healthy way. And it’s something others should work toward: Self-acceptance is a key to a happier life, but it’s not always practiced all that often.
It takes a lot of mental energy to come up with quick-witted quips that keep grins on others’ faces. Those who have a good sense of humour tend to be more creative. And that’s not the only cognitive benefit: One 2014 study found that laughter can also lead to a sharper short-term memory.
There’s a line between well-intentioned humour and mean-spirited jokes, and those with good humour know the difference. “Most comedy is based on getting a laugh at somebody else’s expense. And I find that that’s just a form of bullying in a major way,” comedian Ellen DeGeneres told CBS News in 2012. “So I want to be an example that you can be funny and be kind, and make people laugh without hurting somebody else’s feelings.”
You Have Good Physical Well-Being
Laughter truly is the best medicine — and people who have a good sense of humour use it to their advantage. Those giggles can stimulate the organs, improve your immune system and relieve pain.
Overall, humour can benefit us physically and emotionally, according to Peter McGraw, Ph.D., an associate professor at University of Colorado Boulder who studies emotions. “[W]hen done well, humour can have a significant positive effect on your life,” he wrote for Psychology Today. “By developing a better understanding of humour we believe we can then suggest ways that people can live better lives — from helping them cope with pain and stress to encouraging people to use humour to criticize brands that have done them wrong.”
Aging is Just A Fact of Life to You
While most people fret with each passing birthday, good-humoured individuals take it all in stride. Those “over the hill” cards? The jokes about looking older? Child’s play — and that light-heart attitude may help you live longer. Research suggests that a sense of humour increases longevity into retirement. Bring it on, birthdays.