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.

This Course Will Teach You How to Play Guitar Like a Pro for $29

BartekSzewczyk/iStock via Getty Images
BartekSzewczyk/iStock via Getty Images

Be honest: You’ve watched a YouTube video or two in an attempt to learn how to play a song on the guitar. Whether it was through tabs or simply copying whatever you saw on the screen, the fun always ends when friends start throwing out requests for songs you have no idea how to play. So how about you actually learn how to play guitar for real this time?

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The strumming course will teach you how to count beats and rests to turn your hands and fingers into the perfect accompaniment for your own voice or other musicians. Then, you can take things a step further and learn advanced jamming and soloing to riff anytime, anywhere. This course will teach you to improvise across various chords and progressions so you can jump into any jam with something original. You’ll also have the chance to dive deep into the major guitar genres of bluegrass, blues, and jazz. Lessons in jam etiquette, genre history, and how to read music will separate you from a novice player.

This bundle also includes courses in ear training so you can properly identify any relative note, interval, or pitch. That way, you can play along with any song when it comes on, or even understand how to modify it into the key you’d prefer. And when the time comes to perform, be prepared with skilled hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, bends, trills, vibrato, and fret-tapping. Not only will you learn the basic foundations of guitar, you’ll ultimately be able to develop your own style with the help of these lessons.

The Ultimate Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle is discounted for a limited time. Act on this $29 offer now to work on those fingertip calluses and play like a pro.

 

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Mental Floss Is Up for a Webby Award—Here’s How to Help Us Win!

This woman doesn't work for us, but she sure is happy about our Webby Award nomination!
This woman doesn't work for us, but she sure is happy about our Webby Award nomination!
Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

The writers, editors, videographers, tech whizzes, and everybody else on the Mental Floss team began today like any other: guzzling coffee by the gallon, eager to deliver a blend of zany and informative content straight to the brains of our readers. By mid-morning, our makeshift home offices were buzzing with a heightened, electric energy—because we’d just been nominated for a Webby Award, and we’re really excited about it.

The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences (IADAS) has included Mental Floss in the “Weird” general website category, which highlights sites “that reflect a fresh perspective in thought and action strong enough to start a revolution, change a behavior pattern, or advance old thinking lodged in bad habits, or that are just plain weird.”

Basically, there are two winners for each category. The Webby Award is chosen by IADAS members like Arianna Huffington, Monica Lewinsky, Darren Aronofsky, and representatives from just about every other industry out there. The IADAS has honored Mental Floss with two Webby Awards in the past; the website won one in 2013 for best cultural blog, and John Green nabbed another in 2015 for being the much-beloved host of our YouTube channel.

The Webby People’s Voice Award, on the other hand, is voted on by the public. So if you think Mental Floss embodies any (or all) of the aforementioned criteria for Best Weird General Website, you can help us win a People’s Voice Award by voting here. We’re up against some steep competition, including Brand Name Pencils, the world’s largest collection of vintage brand-name pencils, and Amazon Dating, a completely fake dating site modeled after Amazon’s homepage.

Voting is open through Thursday, May 7, and the winners will be announced on Tuesday, May 19, before a special online celebration called “Webbys From Home” that’ll showcase some of the internet’s best content from the past year.

You can explore all the nominees and vote in other categories here.