Humour - Positive Psychology & Storytelling - Module 12


Video : (Links to an external site.)




Story 12:      Nasiruddin and the coat

                  Nasiruddin is a teacher

              Nasiruddin on the pumpkin patch


Story Reflection Task : 

1)  What kind of humour do you enjoy - slapstick or wordplay?

2) What does it tell you about yourself? 

Knowing Humour : 

“The human Race has one really effective weapon and that is Humour”– Mark Twain

Humour is that which makes you laugh. In ancient Greece, it was known that the word Humor, which meant body fluid in Latin, was the fluid that controlled one’s health and emotions!

Humour has been identified as one of the top 24 Character strengths and is classified under the Virtue of Transcendence. It  is a strength that helps make connections with the larger meaning and purpose of life.

Humour has been defined in 3 ways: (Positive Psychology Workbook _ Bruce Smith)

  1. The ability to make others laugh or smile.
  2. The ability to see something as different, absurd, or incongruous.
  3. The ability as a super-power, it enables us to transcend or rise above stressful situations. 

Humour helps us recover from Illness and surgery quickly, helps us deal with mortality, reduces harmful effects of stress response, improves immune function. Humour may be a coping mechanism or a defence mechanism.

Psychologist Dr.Paul McGhee developed a humour programme called the Seven Humor Habits and his research shows that Humour increases optimism, self-efficacy and positive emotions. 

Studies by Martin et al show that there are two types of Humor (Humour Styles): Adaptive and Maladaptive Humour.

1) Adaptive Humour which includes affiliative and self-enhancing humour.

Both increase the positive emotions as we bond and form relationships, lightens the mood and helps us manages stress. 

Affiliative Humor is used by individuals to bond with others, reduce tension and generally amuse.

Self-enhancing humour – people with this kind of humour have a humorous perspective to life and also use it to cope with stress. This humour is most beneficial to develop well being.


2) Maladaptive humour where one can get aggressive or self-defeating, both of which are detrimental to health.  

Aggressive humour -Racist jokes, sarcasm that may be used for the purpose of amusement.

Self-defeating – when humour is directed against self in a negative way or detrimental way in order to gain approval from others, it can prove harmful.

 All research tells us that if we learn to laugh more find humour in everyday life and develop a sense of humour, it will help us stay positive and flourish.

 Ways to develop humor everyday:

  1. Identify what amuses you every day.  
  2. Identify how to respond to the person or situation.
  3. Find opportunities to look at the incongruity, absurdness or difference in language or situations.
  4. Have a playful attitude
  5. Learn to find humor in the middle of stress
  6. Laugh out loud.
  7. Practice cracking a joke!


Highlights of this Module:

1) Humour is the ability to make others laugh

2) Ability to see something as absurd or incongruous

3) As a super power, helps us transcend or rise above stressful situations.

4) Adaptive and Maladaptive Humour

5) Adaptive Humour is affiliative and self enhancing humor

6) Maladaptive Humour is aggressive and self defeating humour


Topic Reflection Task : 

  • Bring in Humour - Create a cartoon self - give yourself a superpower which is related to any real aspect of you.    EG: I have been an avid reader all my life. My superpower is reading & telling stories. I would see myself as book wielding cartoon elephant.  (don’t be afraid to engage your playfulness) . A friend created a cartoon version of herself and calls the cartoon Chatori ( because she loves Chaat)
  • Identify a character from movies/ cartoons that represents you.    Draw or Write this task and post it r on Discussion page



Pg : 167 – Positive Psychology Workbook / Bruce Smith (


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