The book Why Our Brains Make Us Laugh written by Hurley,Dennett and Adams was recently reviewed in the Boston Globe by Chris Berdik and prompted me to think about the assumptions we make constantly…about what’s wrong with us and what derogatory thing someone else is thinking about us.
We say to ourselves:
- Weight loss, I hate my body, I need to lose weight
- I’m Fat
- What must they be thinking about me
- I can’t go anywhere in this body
“Our brains make sense of our daily lives via a never ending series of assumptions, based on sparse, incomplete information. All these best guesses simplify our world, give us critical insights into the minds of others, and streamline our decisions. But mistakes are inevitable, and even a small faulty assumption can open the door to bigger and costlier mistakes.
Enter mirth, a little pulse of reward the brain gives itself for seeking out and correcting our mistaken assumptions. A sense of humor is the lure that keeps our brains alert for the gaps between our quick-fire assumptions and reality” writes Chris Berdik.
One of the authors, Hurley says:
The basic, most simple humor is first-person humor. It’s when you catch yourself in an error, like looking for the glasses that happen to be on the top of your head.
You’ve made an assumption about the state of the world, and you’re behaving based on that assumption, but that assumption doesn’t hold at all, and you get a little chuckle.
So instead of all the negative self talk and assumptions that destroy our self esteem, how about letting your brain look for the mirth in the assumptions we make.