Taking things very seriously can be a great quality, showing that you are earnest, caring, and hardworking. But, taking things ”too” seriously can cause unnecessary stress and worry over things that aren’t worth the effort. By learning about why we tend to take life too seriously and how to spread some humor and lightness into life, you can stop being so serious and spend more time enjoying life.
Break from habit occasionally.
When you take detours and let other things disrupt your regular routine, you get more and more comfortable with life’s little surprises. What’s more, you experience more of the benefits that come along with the unplanned, like meeting cool new friends at a bar that you decide to take a chance on.
- Even small departures from routine, like a new route to work, will remind you to pause and focus on things that you normally miss. Little changes still help us out of our heads (and thus distracted from the worries that keep us serious) and into the present moment.
Learn techniques to cope with stress.
When you are stressed, you are much more likely to take things seriously; stress is when your body is poised to react in an intense way. This sets up a cycle of getting stressed from taking things seriously and taking things seriously reinforcing stress responses. Learning mental and physical methods to lessen stress is crucial. Examples include the following:
- Making long-term healthy lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise
- Using to-do lists
- Reducing negative self-talk
- Practicing progressive muscle relaxation
- Learning mindfulness and visualization meditations
Express yourself through movement.
Loosening yourself up – literally – will make it much easier to approach life with cheery grace. There is a wide variety of movement-oriented arts that can help ease some of the bodily tension that usually accompanies a serious mind. Depending on your interests, you may want to take up dance, yoga, aerobics, or expressive arts like improvisational comedy or basic acting.
- Taking a class in any of these areas might be more helpful than teaching yourself because letting loose in the presence of others can be more encouraging than trying to learn alone.
Incorporate music into your life.
Listening to music more frequently can be a great way to alter your mood because it helps exaggerate certain feelings. This means that if you are trying to lighten up and focus on the cheerier parts of life, listening to upbeat music can bring these brighter aspects more clearly into focus.
- Try listening to up-tempo music in major keys. Any genre will do as long as it makes you personally feel relaxed and at ease.
Seek out opportunities to laugh.
Intentionally giving yourself more to laugh about will help you remind yourself just how much humor lies in all situations. The following are simple ways to introduce yourself to more laughter:
- Watch a funny movie or TV show
- Visit a comedy club
- Read the comics section of the newspaper
- Share a funny story
- Host game night with friends
- Play with your pet (if you have one)
- Go to a “laughter yoga” class
- Goof around with children
- Make time for fun activities (e.g. bowling, miniature golfing, karaoke).
Make jokes to combat minor frustrations.
There will always be little inconveniences that get in your way, but you always have the option to turn them into jokes. If you don’t think there’s anything to laugh at when, say, you find a hair in your soup, laugh about the very fact that something so small has the power to throw such a major wrench in your plans (or make you have a little talk with your waiter…).
- You could get aggravated and beat yourself up about the fact that your printer is malfunctioning, or you can joke about getting what you deserve for still using your old inkjet from the ‘90s.
- Try deliberately turning a molehill into a mountain just to see how silly it is when you do so unintentionally. Rant and rage about breaking a nail or dropping a quarter down into a grate as if it were the most serious thing in the world. This way you’ll get an outsider’s perspective of how you may be coming off when you really are being serious.
Surround yourself with fun, supportive folks.
Probably the easiest way to remember to stop taking life so seriously is to get swept up in a fun-loving group of people whose very presence knocks the seriousness right out of you. Take note of friends you already have and new people you meet who seem to laugh effortlessly and encourage you to do the same.
- Even when you’re not together, imagine what these friends would think of how seriously you’re taking whatever the latest issue is. How would they respond to the same problem?
- What’s more, shared laughter is a highly effective way to keep relationships going strong. Laughing with others builds the same bonds of emotional sharing, but with the added dimensions of joy and vitality.
Please Humour me, if you want to add something to this.
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