Anna Wootton

You Gotta Have a Sense of Humour…It’ll Save Your Sanity!

It was one of those days.

I was annoyed and irritated by everything. There was no one event that triggered it – it was more a build-up of stress over the past few weeks that I hadn’t dealt with at all but rather just kept shoving to one side of my brain, telling myself I’m sure it’ll all get better.

That’s a great mantra to have, but for a person like me, someone who clings to plans and structure (a typical trait of emotional eaters and constant dieters) that vague mantra of reassurance just wasn’t cutting it, even though I had fooled myself for a while that it would. And so it was, on this day, that I woke up and things just went from bad to worse.

I was already irritable (thanks to aforementioned stress bubbling away), then technology wanted to be my enemy – and we all know that’s the surest blood pressure riser.

Then I took myself out of the house for a change of scene and hit up my local Starbucks. The day before I had ordered my usual drink and the barista had – in a slightly patronizing tone – told me how to properly order my drink. This barista was the same one on duty today, so I smiled and dutifully ordered my drink the way I had been instructed. He made it completely wrong. I bit my tongue.

I then sat down and tried to YouTube search for a video my friend had recommended, and yet every video result made me sit through a 30-second ad before watching and still showed me the wrong video after each ad.

Then a friend flaked on me for our plans that night.

By this point, I threw up my hands in annoyance and ate a cookie the size of my face that I totally didn’t need. It wasn’t a big deal, no, but I was using sugar for that hit of dopamine so that I would feel better and all that happened was that I felt jittery and more irritated than ever (this wasn’t really a surprise – sugar has never delivered on its promise to me before, so I was kidding myself thinking it would now).

I drove home, sat on my bed, stared at the ceiling and took five deep breaths. Five counts in, five counts out, five times. I closed my eyes halfway through and focused on the movement of my diaphragm, my lungs, my chest, my stomach, going up and down, in and out. Then I opened my eyes again, stared at the ceiling, and burst out laughing.



Sure I probably would have looked nuts had anyone walked in. But because I have done away with guilt, 1000%, I wasn’t going to sit and feel guilty that I had a cookie, or annoyed that actions of other people had frustrated me to the point where I had had to have a cookie (notice how I totally shifted the blame there?). So what was left to feel? Once I’d taken a few deep breaths, I just realized that the whole thing was pretty ridiculous. I shifted perspective and looked at my ‘problems’ in the grand scheme of things. I looked at what I was taking in yet not getting out. And when it was then so clear that all I really needed was a good purging session of all this negativity and frustration, I realized the answer was super simple, and I laughed at myself. I was being ridiculous – no need to complicate matters or let myself get more and more wound up. I just needed a good, long laugh, and then a good session of journalling, deep breathing, meditation, and relaxation.

That’s how I spent my evening. Then I had a bubble bath, and read my Kindle, and fell asleep early. The next day I woke up and felt great.

Next time you’re just feeling your blood pressure rise, take a moment and just laugh. Share it!

Even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing. Once you’ve laughed for a bit, think about what’s going on and see if you can find some humour in it somewhere. If not, just keep laughing. I could go on and on about the scientific research that has shown the chemical reaction that simply smiling and laughing has in your brain and the way it can transform your mood, but you don’t really need to know that.

You just need to know this: laugh.

Fun Work for You to Consider:

  • Think of a recent stressful event or day. Consider how your mood was leading up to this event/day. Were there other things going on that may have contributed to your perception of that event or day?
  • Continue thinking about that stressful time. Is there anything in it that you could find humour in?