Thursday, June 30, 2011

Do You Have A Sense of Humor?


Do you step back and laugh at life's absurdities? Or do you wring your hands, find gloom and doom everywhere, and conclude that our world is awful?

You'll be healthier if you lighten up. Research has shown that those who score high on a multidimensional sense of humor scale have lower levels of depression and higher levels of purpose than those who score low in humor.

You don't have to be the author of the joke to appreciate it, nor do you have to laugh out loud. How much you laugh isn't a good measure of your sense of humor. Soldiers going into battle, for example, respond to the least little thing with gales of nervous laughter. You can laugh inwardly, and some types of humor, such as dry wit, demand a wry smile rather than a laugh.

Some people are better than others at laughing things off, or at least smiling at the ridiculous, and research indicates that those blessed with a funnybone may actually live longer.

Take the following test to see how you use humor. On each item, give yourself:

     1 point if you strongly disagree with the statement
     2 points if you mildly disagree
     3 points if you mildly agree
     4 points if you strongly agree

1. I often crack people up with the things I say.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree

2. Sometimes I think up jokes or funny stories.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree

3. My friends regard me as something of a wit.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree

4. People look to me to say amusing things.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree

5. Uses of humor help me adapt to many situations.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree

6. Humor helps me cope.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree

7. Using humor is a great way of adapting.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree

8. Uses of wit or humor help me master difficult situations.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree

9. I can ease a tense situation by saying something funny.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree

10. Things really do go better with humor.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree

11. I'm comfortable when those around me are cracking jokes.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree

12. Humor can defuse an explosive situation.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree

13. I like a good joke.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree

14. I admire people who generate humor.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree

15. I generally have a happy outlook on life.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree

16. I have laughed so hard that tears came to my eyes.

strongly disagree 4 strongly agree


1. Your Creativity and Performance Score 13
2. Your Coping Score 16
3. Your Facilitation Score 16
4. Your Appreciation Score 16
Total score 61

Your Creativity and Performance Score : 13
Statements 1 through 4 have to do with humor creativity and performance. If your total score for these items is 15 or 16, you're probably the life of the party. But you don't have to be a wild and crazy guy to be creative. Maybe you think of the thing that will crack up the group, but you're reluctant to say it. Or you think of the right response 10 minutes too late. The point is, you do think of it. You may have a subtler or quieter wit, and that's all right. If you scored 6 or less on these first four items, though, maybe you'd be happier if you opened up a little. Nobody wants to cultivate a reputation for being dull.

Your Coping Score : 16
Items 5 through 8 deal with coping. It's important to realize that you don't have to have the weight of the world on your shoulders in order to use coping humor. We all face the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. And even if you're living a glorious life, you know that none of us gets out of this alive. So, having to cope might be situational, but it may also just be one of the good habits that prevent us from taking ourselves — or our lives — too seriously.

Our research indicates that women tend to score higher on the coping factor. This may seem paradoxical, as others' research has shown women on average to be higher in depression, and coping humor is an antidote to depression. Either women are better able to admit vulnerability, or maybe they just have more to cope with. Scores of 13 to 16 indicate that you can laugh off in a healthy way much that might otherwise vex you. Scores of 8 to 12 suggest that you can often smile and go on. Scores of 4 to 7 may mean that you would be healthier if you laughed off some of your stressors.

Your Facilitation Score : 16
If you scored 14, 15, or 16 on Statements 9 through 12, you're a facilitator. People mean so much to you that you're willing to go out on a limb to ease their discomfort. You know that your coworkers are more productive when they're happy, and you will go out of your way to try to cheer things up. Scores of 10 to 13 on these items don't necessarily mean that you let other people stew; perhaps the situation demands some tension. If your scores on these items are low, though, you might study ways to inject humor into a situation.

Your Appreciation Score : 16
The last four items deal with appreciating humor. If you can see hilarity in circumstances that others find mundane or distasteful, then perhaps you are blessed. Your optimism and playfulness go along with your rich appreciation of fun and funny people. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we diet.

In our work with a longer (25-item) multidimensional sense of humor scale, we have found that situational variables are important in total sense of humor score. Combining the factors above, the sum may be dependent on who one is and where one is in life. Young males, for instance, tend to score fairly high on creativity and performance, probably because their peers value being funny. Older people, on the other hand, score fairly low on these items. There may be a cohort effect here: Young people were not expected to be so demonstrative when these subjects were young. Or they may have found quiet appreciation of others' humor more valuable than being the class clown.

Both older people and women tend to score high on the coping items. This may be a matter of their peers' styles or expectations. Or they may use less humor in public and more within the in-group. They are facilitators, who enforce group norms using humor, or they may be those who ease tension by making light of what might otherwise be seen as threatening. Most psychologists agree that those who cope by using humor are healthier mentally, and perhaps physically and spiritually.

People who appreciate humor don't have to use it to cope or as a social lubricant, nor do they have to be gag writers. They may just smile at life. We find, though, that those who appreciate humor also use it as a coping mechanism. And one has to have appreciation before one can learn to create. Facilitation often depends on creation and performance.

Total Score : 61
So, total your four scores. The maximum score is 64. If you're near it, you let your sense of humor serve you, improving your quality of life.

If your total score is between 40 and 50, you use humor sometimes, but perhaps you could learn to let yourself go and enjoy more variety.

Did you score between 20 and 30? Well, you poor old gloomy thing. Less than 20? You need to make an effort to look on the bright side. Life has greater potential if you can loosen up and enjoy it. You don't have to laugh out loud. Somebody might hear you. Just mellow out a bit. Pull my finger.

Take the test yourself...
*The above text in this posting is a REPOST from Spirituality & Health
(only my score is unique; the assessment is automatically generated)

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