11 Tips to Lighten Up The Compulsively Serious (or Break the Grip When Seriousness Strikes You)

serious faceIs there someone in your life that’s always serious? Someone who’s quick to point out the risks involved or why you shouldn’t do something.

Or perhaps there’s a part of you that falls into that serious space from time to time? I do. I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky sort of guy most of the time. But every so often I feel my serious side starting to get a bit ambitious. And before it gets out of control I like to bring some balance and lightness to the situation.

Now don’t get me wrong, seriousness is not a bad thing. But it has the potential to become a problem if it’s not balanced with fun and lightness.

So here are some tips that I use (well, maybe not all of them!) to stay balanced. Maybe they can help you lighten up your serious side. And, of course, feel free to pass these on to some of your more serious sidekicks!

1. Go to a funny movie.

Laughter is one of the best remedies for out of balance seriousness. Get yourself to a funny movie and let the laughter break the spell. Extra points if it has no redeeming qualities. We’re talking Dumb and Dumberer here!

2. Hang out with fun people.
When you catch yourself getting serious, it’s time for a fun infusion. You do have some fun friends, don’t you? Call them up and go hang out with them. Extra points for every stupid joke told!

3. Take a break from your serious friends.
You know the ones I’m talking about! Now, don’t worry, you don’t have to dump them forever. Just take a few days off. You’re in fun infusion mode. The fewer rain on your parade types you have around the better. Extra points for not calling your parents or some other especially serious fixtures in your life!

4. Do something just for fun.
When serious strikes the last thing you feel like doing is anything without a definite purpose. That’s why it’s an especially good serious antidote. Go to the beach. Go for a hike. Play a game of golf. Put on a CD you haven’t listened to in a while. There’s got to be something you can think of that you could do just for fun. Extra points if it’s during work hours!

5. Get drunk, alright tipsy works.
No, I’m not condoning alcoholism here. This one is more for those mostly teatottaling types like me. Once in a while, a drink or two can help break the grip of seriousness and let the fun come out. Extra points for playing pool really badly while drinking a beer!

6. Surf YouTube for funny videos.
Sometimes a hilarious five-minute video will do the trick and snap you out of that serious space. Extra points for stopping after just one!
Here’s a good one to start you off:

Thanks to Caroline Middlebrook for turning me on to this one!

7. Go on a news boycott.
Let’s face it: the news is pretty darned serious. We could probably get away with calling it somber, sobering, or downright depressing! When the serious spell starts to grab hold of you, taking a few days away from the news can make a huge difference. Extra points if you use your regular news reading time to catch up on the comic strips!

8. Hang out with some young kids.
Kids, especially the little ones, haven’t had enough time hanging around with us to get too serious. So spending time with them is a great why to relieve the serious stuff. Extra points if you build sandcastles along with them!

9. Go bowling.
All right, it doesn’t have to be bowling. Could be badminton, bocce ball, or anything that is so far removed from your normal athletic pursuits that you won’t care how bad you do and will just let yourself have a goofy good time. Extra points for standing at the line and doing the kid-style, two-handed, underhand bowling throw!

10. Have a Karoke Party.
Gather up your friends and head down to your local karaoke bar and start belting out those tunes. No karaoke bar available? No problem, you can buy a used karaoke machine at Amazon for under $50. And then you can have a karaoke party whenever you need one. Extra points for not allowing any Frank Sinatra songs!

11. Dance like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.
As far as I can tell there’s absolutely no way to remain serious while doing some of JT’s moves from Saturday Night Fever. A close second would be dancing to the Village People’s YMCA. If you can keep a straight face while acting out those letters you’re a better person than me. Extra points for bringing the boom-box outside and doing it where your neighbors can watch!

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      10 Responses to “11 Tips to Lighten Up The Compulsively Serious (or Break the Grip When Seriousness Strikes You)”

      1. Mighty Morgan on November 14th, 2007 2:43 pm

        I like this article…I definitely have the capacity to get too “serious” at times. It has gotten less serious through the years as I have realized how integral a sense of humor can be with dealing with “SELF”. I try to laugh at myself as much as possible because I know that in the grand scheme of things….nothing is THAT serious to get all twisted about….so laugh as much as possible because life is too darn short to get caught up in the minor details. 🙂

      2. Edward Mills on November 14th, 2007 2:56 pm

        Morgan. You’re exactly right when you talk about laughing at yourself. Everything gets too serious when we take ourselves too seriously. I love the line in the Indigo Girls song:

        “And the best thing you ever did for me,
        is to help me take my life less seriously.
        It’s only life after all.

      3. Mark on November 14th, 2007 3:12 pm

        Excellent advice, we all need to relax and have fun sometimes and not take ourselves so seriously.

      4. Today’s Essential Reads on November 14th, 2007 5:46 pm

        […] about the time things start getting a bit too serious, stop in at Evolving Times to get Ed’s 11 Tips to Lighten Up the Compulsively Serious or stop in at Casual Keystrokes and play with some virtual bubble wrap (this stuff is […]

      5. Raymond on November 15th, 2007 12:09 am

        The “Lego Set Movie” is so hilarious.

        YouTube is my favorite place to go.

        However, I tried not to get addicted to it. 🙂

      6. Dallas Bienes Raices on November 15th, 2007 6:01 am

        Thank you…..sometimes I just feel that I get things to serious and all I do is work work, and we do need to get a break sometimes.

      7. Andrea Hess | Empowered Soul on November 15th, 2007 4:47 pm

        Thanks for the reminder to lighten up, Ed! Definitely much needed today. I think we can all get lost in the seriousness of all the “important” stuff we “have to” do. Laughter can definitely shift our perspective.


      8. Edward Mills on November 16th, 2007 4:06 pm

        Mark. I’m the first to admit that there are times when I take myself a bit too seriously. So if you ever hear the theme song from Saturday Night Fever in my neighborhood, it’s probably me! 😉

        Raymond. I know. I cracked up when I watched it.

      9. Edward Mills on November 16th, 2007 4:08 pm

        Hi Dallas. Welcome to ET! Yeah, that work, work, work thing. It’s seductive in some ways.

        Andrea. Glad this came at a good time for you. It was perfect timing for me too! 😉

      10. Todd Schafer on December 2nd, 2007 9:05 pm

        Youtube is gonna replace stand-up comedy someday.
        That Star Wars canteen gig was priceless. British humor at it’s finest.
        My contribution to taking myself less seriously…..a buddy of mine and I used to imitate the roar of Godzilla, and the stringy sound that was Mothra.
        VERY hard to keep a straight face doing that.

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