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How Humor Can Help You Cope With Uncertainty

Organizations are made up of people, and this pandemic that changed a lot in the world in which we operated until now has people mired in a state of uncertainty that has never affected so many people at the same time. That is why we speak of a viralized global uncertainty. Uncertainty is, technically, the […]

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Organizations are made up of people, and this pandemic that changed a lot in the world in which we operated until now has people mired in a state of uncertainty that has never affected so many people at the same time. That is why we speak of a viralized global uncertainty.

Uncertainty is, technically, the lack of certainty about something. According to what neuroscience has been investigating, this situation can generate two reactions in the brain, which are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The first is a feeling of discomfort, or not being prepared to face this lack of certainty about what is happening and what may come. We could say that this is the negative valence.

But in many people, this lack of certainty generates something else, which would be a positive bias: if we are not certain about what is going to happen to us or what is going to come, that is a very powerful driver for our brain to motivate itself to generate learnings and try to build the path that is to come rather than settle for a predetermined destination.

Resilience from humor

The other concept that emerges in this context is that of resilience. From psychology it is defined as the ability of human beings subjected to the effects of adversity, to overcome it, be positively transformed and emerge strengthened from the situation.

Among the characteristics and attributes of resilient people, one of which stands out is humor. And that trait can be a useful tool in dealing with uncertainty.

For there to be humor, there always has to be a counterpoint. Humor is a means of resilience. It is a way of accepting reality, taking the comic side. It is somehow what Charles Chaplin was able to express so many years ago: “Life seen up close is a tragedy, but seen from a distance is a comedy.”

The question is: in the face of the same situation that we cannot change, what is best for us: smile or cry? We always want to laugh. Humor becomes a defense, a realistic defense. Realistic optimism is fundamental, and it is not denial but, on the contrary, understanding and accepting what is happening to us in order to face it in the best way.

In the sense of humor is the key, because it saves us from going through this stage dominated by negative feelings. Humor is related to wit and creativity. Humor improves our spirits, increases endorphins. And the most interesting of all: humor is a skill that can be trained.

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