Through the years, you've probably made a lot of wrong decisions and found yourself in bad situations, and after all has been said and done, sometimes there’s nothing left to do but to laugh at yourself and in the predicament you're in—and it’s actually a good thing.

Cracking a joke at your expense is actually a hallmark of good and healthy humor. A study by experts from the University of California Berkley and from the University of Zurich that was featured on TIME revealed that it’s a distinct trait among people with an upbeat personality, which makes them more likely to be optimistic. And while this may seem trivial, remember that having a good sense of humor is actually good for overall wellness: laughter eases tension, stimulates organs, and is a great stress reliever.

Laughing at yourself can also do wonders to your psychological health. Dr. Jeremy E. Sherman writes on Psychology Today that aside from being therapeutic, it actually helps you ground yourself and reminds you of who you truly are. “Self-effacing laughter is the best laxative for loosening a stuck up sense of self, [for] keeping oneself regular, not an exception.”

Another expert, Dr. Jason Powers, cites that laughing at yourself or a negative situation that you’re in can actually teach you to be more resilient and to deal with similar situations better. “A joke [is] the quickest way to turn on the light, even if briefly, when your world was engulfed in darkness.”

If you feel like you’re often taking yourself seriously, lighten up. Dr. Paul McGhee, who specializes with coping with the use of humor suggests these eight steps of improving your funny bone:

  • Surround yourself with humor you enjoy;
  • Learn to adopt a playful attitude;
  • Laugh more often and more heartily;
  • Begin telling jokes and funny stories;
  • Play with language puns and other verbal humor;
  • Find humor in everyday life;
  • Take yourself lightly - laugh at yourself; and
  • Find humor in the midst of stress.

Sources: Psychology Today, TIME, Mayo Clinic

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