Luckily for me, a sense of humor was valued above most things in my family. With five siblings, the one that couldn’t laugh at the situation had the hardest of times. We laughed a lot, mostly at each other, which wasn’t all that healthy, but, at least, we laughed.
In all of the trauma and drama that defines my life, the thing that has gotten me through the bad times, not to mention the good ones, was my ability to find the humor in a situation. I imagine most; if not all, of us, have a sense of humor but not all have had theirs developed as it was in my life, as a survival tool for living in a large family.
Finding humor in sad, sometimes tragic, situations, I warn you, requires making a choice, a big choice. I faced this decision at a young age. Getting mad is always an option. Anger is higher on the emotional scale than sadness, so you feel better if you get angry. But, and this is a big but, allowing your anger to take control of a situation comes at a huge cost. Repercussions of hurt feelings, embarrassment, bad karma and the need to apologize are not uncommon. Those may seem like a small price to pay to feel better, but considering the wear and tear on you and your psyche, I promise you, it’s huge. I know this because I had to pay the price more than once. How many times do you have to make an ass of yourself to realize there has to be a better way? For me, it was a lot. You feel so much better when you look for the humor, without any hidden or residual costs.
Finding things to laugh at is a habit, one that can be acquired. It might take a little work in the beginning, but I assure you, it will pay off big time when you can laugh at things that used to cause you pain.
You have to train your mind to look for humor. My approach to most problems in life is emersion, I just jump right in and go for it. Consequently, my best suggestion is to start training your mind around the topic of mental illness. Make friends with all of the euphoniums for mental illness. There are, at least, a million of them, and some are funny, maybe insensitive, but funny. If you do this, it will serve you, twice. It takes the knee-jerk sting out of all of the ways people thoughtlessly avoid dealing with the topic, and it gives you great practice for finding humor where you need it most.
If emersion is a little too deep end for you try baby steps. Try finding the humor in a situation at work, that didn’t go as you thought it should. If you start looking for humor, I promise you’ll find it. The world we live in is a very funny place.