Mental Health A-Z The Benefits of Making Fun of Yourself By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry Facebook Twitter Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology. Learn about our editorial process Published on May 20, 2022 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD Medically reviewed by Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD LinkedIn Twitter Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and a professor at Yeshiva University’s clinical psychology doctoral program. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Interstid / Getty Images Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Benefits When It Can Be Healthy Tips for Making Fun of Yourself Potential Pitfalls It's no secret that humor can be an important part of well-being. It can reduce stress, improve memory, and help bring you closer to other people. Simply put, being able to laugh about things can help you feel better about your life. You might find it easy to find humor in life's funnier moments, but being able to laugh at yourself isn't always so easy. However, making light of your flaws, mishaps, and life challenges can have a number of benefits. While it might sound surprising, being able to make fun of yourself can be good for your self-esteem. It might even improve your relationships and help you cope more effectively with the challenges that life throws at you. The Benefits of Laughing at Yourself Making fun of yourself is a form of self-deprecating humor. This can involve being excessively modest, but it often involves being a little self-critical or even mocking yourself humorously. Past studies indicated that self-deprecation was connected to negative outcomes such as low self-esteem and increased anxiety. However, some research suggests that this type of humor may contribute to improving emotional well-being, as long as it is used appropriately. Everyone makes mistakes, and looking at them with humor can make them easier to cope with. Self-Esteem Mistakes are part of life, and everyone has faults or weaknesses. Instead of beating yourself up for the things you wish had gone differently, being able to laugh and them can help you view the past (and yourself) more positively. While people with a self-deprecating sense of humor are sometimes perceived as being neurotic or having low-self esteem, research suggests they tend to be happy, self-confident, and well-adjusted. When this type of humor is used to maintain a humorous outlook in difficult situations, it can help enhance well-being and self-esteem. Social Connections People are generally more drawn to others who can laugh at themselves and not take life too seriously. By making light of your quirks, you can show that you are comfortable in your skin and less judgmental of the flaws in others. As a result, it may help make you more likable and build stronger relationships with others. You might also find that poking fun at your own social mishaps can be an effective way to take the awkwardness out of social interactions. Interestingly, research suggests differences in how men and women tend to utilize humor. Men may be more likely to make jokes at others' expense, while women tend to poke fun at themselves more frequently. This research also indicates that both men and women think that being able to make fun of yourself is an attractive trait in a long-term partner. This suggests that being able to make self-deprecating jokes may enhance overall attractiveness. This type of humor makes others see you as modest, self-effacing, and relatable. This can be helpful in certain settings, particularly where you are building camaraderie with other people. However, it is important to make sure you aren't downplaying your own skills and abilities in situations where it is important to be taken more seriously—including in professional and academic settings. Stress Laughter has been shown to have a number of stress-fighting benefits, including reducing stress hormones, relaxing the body, and improving immune function. Being able to laugh at stuff can also relieve stress by changing your perspective. When you view situations as threats, stress levels increase. Shifting to a mindset that allows you to see these situations as challenges can transform this into what is known as eustress, a "good stress" that helps you feel more empowered and resilient. When you take something that has the potential to threaten your sense of self and instead find the humor in it, even if it means poking fun at yourself, it becomes less threatening. When you can laugh at yourself and your mistakes, it can help you cope with difficult situations more positively and may even help improve your overall health. Self-Awareness Making fun of yourself can also serve another valuable purpose—it can act as a tool for building self-awareness. Being able to laugh at yourself involves being able to recognize your flaws and make light of them. Instead of berating yourself for your mistakes, seeing them with humor allows you to explore them with kindness and self-compassion. By recognizing your flaws and not taking them too seriously, you can become more in tune with who you are as a person. This can help you better understand your own behaviors, motivations, and goals, making it easier to navigate life's challenges. And while you might be making fun of yourself a bit, you can also use this understanding to help you make changes when necessary. Making fun of yourself can help you feel more confident and at ease with yourself, both in the present moment and as you look to the future. Self-Expression Self-deprecating humor can also be a way of expressing different aspects of your personality. You can show that you are comfortable making light of difficult situations and aren't afraid to poke fun at yourself by making fun of yourself. This type of humor can also show that you are confident in your abilities and don't take yourself too seriously. Directing your sense of humor toward yourself can be used for self-expression, helping you show the world who you are and how you feel. Therapeutic Benefits Making fun of yourself can also have therapeutic benefits. In addition to making you laugh, self-deprecating humor can help you deal with difficult emotions and situations. For example, if you're feeling down about a mistake you made, making fun of yourself can help you see the problem more positively. Additionally, making light of your shortcomings can help you cope with stress and negativity, making it a valuable tool for managing mental health. Gently poking fun at the things that bring you down can take the hurt and stress out of them. It won't make those challenges vanish, but it can make them easier to deal with. Laughing at yourself can keep you from taking things too seriously. It also has many potential benefits, including improved mental health, stress management, and self-expression. With the right approach, making fun of yourself can be a powerful tool for overcoming challenges and making the most of life's ups and downs. When Making Fun of Yourself Can Be Healthy There's a difference between seeing yourself with gentle humor and being self-demeaning or negative. Experts suggest that being able to make fun of yourself tends to be beneficial as long as: You are viewing your mistakes or shortcomings with kindnessIt allows you to see how embarrassing or difficult situations can be funny It involves being able to laugh at yourself without veering into putting yourself down If it veers from kindness into cruelty, it's time to reassess how you talk to yourself and try reframing your humor in a more positive way. Tips for Making Fun of Yourself Fortunately, there are some things you can do to find humor in your own characteristics, behaviors, and quirks. Here are a few tips : Don't take yourself too seriously. One of the best ways to make fun of yourself is to not take yourself too seriously in the first place. If you can learn to laugh at your own expense, making fun of yourself will be a whole lot easier.Be self-deprecating. Studies suggest that self-deprecating humor tends to help people feel a greater affiliation with the person speaking. If you can admit to making mistakes or being imperfect, others will likely be more willing to let down their guard and do the same. By making light of your own flaws, you can help others feel more at ease about opening up as well.Look for humor in mistakes and mishaps. Sometimes making fun of yourself is as simple as finding the humor in your mistakes. When you can see the funny side of things, making fun of yourself becomes a whole lot easier.Use self-deprecating humor wisely. While making fun of yourself can have some benefits, it's important to use self-deprecating humor in moderation. If you make fun of yourself too much, it can come across as fishing for compliments or putting yourself down. Find a balance that works for you and don't be afraid to laugh at yourself when the situation calls for it. Potential Pitfalls Making fun of yourself can have some benefits, but it's important not to take things too far. There is a line between seeing the humor in the situation and engaging in negative self-talk or being overly self-critical. If making fun of yourself starts to feel like putting yourself down, it's time to take a step back. Or it seems like you can't take a compliment or appreciate your accomplishments without turning the focus to your flaws, it might be a sign that you are taking it too far. Be aware of how often you are making fun of yourself. If you are always repeating negative statements, even if they are meant to be funny, you might start to believe that they are true. Additionally, making light of your own mistakes can sometimes make others feel uncomfortable. They might think you are using this type of humor to avoid serious conversations or as a way to cover up serious self-esteem issues. If you're not sure how someone will react to your self-deprecating humor, it's best to err on the side of caution. Use your best judgment, and don't be afraid to back off if you think you're making someone uncomfortable. If you find yourself always making fun of yourself to amuse others or to avoid difficult issues, you might want to consider if you are using this tactic as a form of people-pleasing or to avoid practicing self-acceptance. Recap It's important to remember that making fun of yourself is not an excuse to mistreat yourself or engage in self-destructive behaviors. If making fun of yourself starts negatively impacting your mental health or well-being, it's time to seek help from a professional. With the right support, good-natured humor can be a tool for growth and self-empowerment. A Word From Verywell While making fun of yourself isn't always easy, it can be a valuable tool for boosting self-esteem, making friends, and reducing stress. If you're looking to add a little levity to your life, try making light of your own flaws and see how it makes you feel. By embracing your flaws and imperfections, you can feel happier and improve your relationships and overall well-being. So don't be afraid to laugh at yourself once in a while. 6 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. McCosker B, Moran CC. Differential effects of self-esteem and interpersonal competence on humor styles. Psychol Res Behav Manag. 2012;5:143-150. doi:10.2147/PRBM.S36967 Torres-Marín J, Navarro-Carrillo G, Carretero-Dios H. Is the use of humor associated with anger management? The assessment of individual differences in humor styles in Spain. Personality and Individual Differences. 2018;120:193-201. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2017.08.040 Greengross G, Miller GF. Dissing oneself versus dissing rivals: Effects of status, personality, and sex on the short-term and long-term attractiveness of self-deprecating and other-deprecating humor. Evol Psychol. 2008;6(3):147470490800600. doi:10.1177/147470490800600303 Savage BM, Lujan HL, Thipparthi RR, Dicarlo SE. Humor, laughter, learning, and health! A brief review. Adv Physiol Educ. 2017;41(3):341-347. doi:10.1152/advan.00030.2017) McGhee P. Humor as Survival Training for a Stressed-Out World: The 7 Humor Habits Program. 1st ed. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse; 2010. Lee JY, Slater MD, Tchernev J. Self-deprecating humor versus other-deprecating humor in health messages. J Health Commun. 2015;20(10):1185-1195. doi:10.1080/10810730.2015.1018591 By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? 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