We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, and it’s true. Laughter relieves tension and stress, elevates mood, enhances creativity, and boosts energy. Laughter also plays an essential role in building strong, healthy relationships by bringing people closer together
creating intimacy, and resolving conflict and disagreements. Whether you’re dating or in a long-term relationship, you can learn to use humor and play to strengthen the bond between you and help you fix relationship problems.
Humor plays an important role in relationships from initial attraction to long-term commitment. In new relationships, humor can be an effective tool not just for attracting the other person but also for overcoming any awkwardness or embarrassment that arises during dating and the process of getting to know one another. In longer-term relationships, humor can keep things exciting, fresh, and vibrant. It can also help you overcome conflicts, disagreements, and the tiny aggravations than can build up over time and wreck even the strongest of relationships.
Humor—free of hurtful sarcasm or ridicule—neutralizes conflict by helping you:
- Interrupt the power struggle, instantly easing tension and allowing you to reconnect and regain perspective.
- Be more spontaneous. Shared laughter and play helps you break free from rigid ways of thinking and behaving, allowing you to see the problem in a new way and find a creative solution.
- Be less defensive. In playful settings, we hear things differently and can tolerate learning things about ourselves that we otherwise might find unpleasant or even painful.
- Let go of inhibitions. Laughter opens us up, freeing us to express what we truly feel and allowing our deep, genuine emotions to rise to the surface.
Sharing the pleasure of humor creates a sense of intimacy and connection between two people—qualities that define solid, successful relationships. When you laugh with one another, you create a positive bond between you. This bond acts as a strong buffer against stress, disagreements, disappointments, and bad patches in a relationship. And laughter really is contagious—just hearing someone laugh primes you to smile and join in on the fun.
But don’t worry if you’re not naturally a lighthearted, humorous person—you can learn to access your playful side and develop your sense of fun.
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