Self-Deprecating Humour Linked to Better Mental Health, No Joke

I wish I was smart enough to understand this


Many of us assume self-deprecating humour is used as a smokescreen for insecurities. However, a study published in 2017 found that making yourself the butt of your own jokes demonstrates higher levels of contentment and self-assurance. I make loads of self-deprecating jokes, but I’m just not very good at them.

As a seasoned psych nurse, I co-manage an acute assessment ward. The role requires clinical knowledge and expertise, interpersonal skills, effective leadership and the ability to think on your feet. And most importantly the ability to remain calm while everyone around you is in a state of panic. And that’s just the staff.

An integral part of my leadership approach is the ability to laugh at myself.

At work, I make out I have a bad vocabulary. I say it makes me feel indigenous.

I encourage my work friends to make fun of me for saying phrases incorrectly. I love pretending that I’m not the brightest book in the shed.

Last week I pretended to not know what the word ‘apocalypse’ meant. But it wasn’t that funny. Oh well, it’s not the end of the world.

Yesterday we all attended an analogy course. I was bottom of the class. It hit me like a peanut butter sandwich.

On a serious note, the other day I was thinking maybe self-deprecating humour isn’t funny anymore. So I increased my use of sexual innuendos. I thought it would be good to slip in a few more double entendres here and there. But now my manager is moaning about my inappropriate use of humour in the workplace. I tried telling her it wasn’t just me. I said if the use of double entendres become a crime, the whole team will go down. She told me I should stop turning everything into a sexual innuendo and grow up. I told her that’s actually something I can get behind. I then told her that the best thing about that last euphemism is that she can take it any way she wants.

On reflection, I’ve decided to stick with the self-deprecating humour. Hopefully, I’ll get better at it, but I doubt it.

“If you find it hard to laugh at yourself, I would be happy to do it for you”

Groucho Marx

Originally published in Medium publication ‘The Haven‘ 01/10/19.

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