There’s a Psychological Reason You Laugh at the Worst Times

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iStock

by Reader's Digest Editors

Picture this: You’re having a serious conversation with your significant other. They’re flustered and upset ... but you start laughing. You don’t even know why you’re laughing, and you’re trying so hard not to, but it’s happening anyway. (And it’s followed by a whole lot of guilt.) Well, we have some good news. If you find yourself in this kind of situation, you’re not alone.

The reasoning behind laughing during serious moments is very situational and varies on the person and their psychological status. "Clients with neurodevelopmental delays such as ADHD, OCD, ASD, and others will often struggle with appropriate emotional reactions to sad or horrific events,” Kelley Hopkins-Alvarez, a licensed professional counselor and board-certified coach, told Reader’s Digest. “There is [also] a very small percentage of our society who would fall into the category of a sociopath, these people seem to get pleasure out of others' pain, and they lack empathy or concern for others.”

In these situations, “[People with neurodevelopmental delays] can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, either in group and or individual therapy formats, to help them develop appropriate emotional responses that don’t come naturally to them,” says Hopkins-Alvarez.

 
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So, what if you don’t have a known neurodevelopmental delay? Before you start looking up symptoms, local psychologists, and questioning whether or not you’re secretly a sociopath, there’s another reason you may be experiencing this. You might be subconsciously defending yourself from, well, yourself.

“Sometimes people laugh when something is sad because they are trying to deflect going deeper into their emotions,” says Hopkins-Alvarez.

“This may be an unconscious process that is occurring, not necessarily a conscious one.” In other words, your mind is putting up a type of wall to combat these overwhelming emotions—and it’s totally normal.

The New Apple Watch SE Is Now Available on Amazon

Apple/Amazon
Apple/Amazon

Apple products are notorious for their high price tags. From AirPods to iPads to MacBooks, it can be difficult to find the perfect piece of tech on sale when you are ready to buy. Luckily, for those who have had their eye on a new Apple Watch, the Apple Watch SE is designed with all the features users want but at a lower starting price of $279— and they're available on Amazon right now.

The SE exists as a more affordable option when compared to Apple's new Series 6 line of watches. This less expensive version has many of the same functions of its pricier brethren, except for certain features like the blood oxygen sensor and electrical heart sensor. To make up for the truncated bells and whistles, the SE comes in at least $120 cheaper than the Series 6, which starts at $400 and goes up to $800. The SE comes with technical improvements on previous models as well, such as the fall detection, a faster processor, a larger screen, water resistance, and more.

Now available in 40mm ($279) and 44mm ($309), both SE models offer a variety of colors to choose from, such as sliver, space gray, and pink. If you want cellular connection, you’ll have to pay a bit more for the 40mm ($329) and the 44mm ($359).

For more, head to Amazon to see the full list of offerings from Apple.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Order Mental Floss's Amazing Facts Desk Calendar to Learn Something New Every Day

Andrews McMeel Publishing
Andrews McMeel Publishing

Your commute, your weekend plans, and the weather are all tried-and-true topics for small talk, but that doesn’t mean you can’t meander into uncharted territory and wow your friends, family, and coworkers with some more obscure facts from time to time.

To give you some (more than 300, actually) ideas, Mental Floss has teamed up with Andrews McMeel Publishing on a desk calendar with one amazing fact for each day of 2021. If you’ve spent time on the Mental Floss website, the phrase amazing fact might sound familiar—the calendar is an offshoot of the popular Amazing Fact Generator, which has been delivering offbeat, zany, thought-provoking trivia to readers for a good part of Mental Floss’s 20-year history.

The facts themselves cover everything from pop culture to history and beyond, giving you the opportunity to discover, for example, that the little plastic "table" on top of the pizza you get for takeout or delivery is called a pizza saver, and that it was patented in 1983 by a woman named Carmela Vitale.

Some of the facts relate to their corresponding dates. On Halloween, you can kick off your morning conference call with this endearing entertainment tidbit: Children in 1966 were so distraught that Charlie Brown only got rocks in his trick-or-treat bag during It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown that they mailed heaps of candy to Charles Schulz’s office in California.

By the end of next year, you’ll be the most interesting person in your company and everyone’s first choice for their pub trivia team. The calendar is available for purchase now, and you can get details on how to order it here.