The Prankster In Side Of Ourselves

| April 3, 2016 | 0 Comments

April Fool’s Day is one of my personal favorites; and at the same time, most disliked special days. It has many aspects of its existence that cause this reaction. They include the potential of having some fun, being creative and getting out of the same-old rut for a single day. It also has the potential of breaking the status quo in a slightly discomforting way. The fact is, it may offend someone and even lead to being reprimanded by those who are the targets of our April Fool’s jokes. In short, there are so many emotions and reactions that can result from this day.

It’s likely the prankster in us may have quieted down due to the rise of our daily demands. Which is why rarely do I hear about practical jokes on April 1st anymore. That is a pity, since it is a chance to try out something different, go beyond our self-imposed limitations and try on some new nuances of our own personalities. That being said, during times when there is a strong push for political correctness, there are slim pickings for practical jokes. And, with less exposure and practice, people get more and more defensive and offended when being the target of a joke.

Though it is actually flattering to be targeted (since one has to be worthy of the effort going into the construction of a good April Fools´ joke), one must trust that the jokes are harmless and are often based on a “loving” intention. Then, of course, it needs to be a harmless joke without physically or emotionally hurting anyone. Within those limits there is still a lot of fun possible. Even choosing the right kind of joke takes some extra effort and tinkering.

As a genuinely serious person (Austrian genes), I am lucky enough to be often challenged by my creative husband who has a great sense of humor and a love of practical jokes. I have had a lot of practice and as a psychologist can also see the therapeutic value of April Fool’s Day practices.

One of the most common, self-imposed prisons my clients find themselves in is not to be able to laugh at themselves and taking everything and themselves very seriously. Life gets cold and dark very fast when there is no room for play, creativity and laughter. We are not meant to be solely producing efficiency machines, that´s why we have actual machines.

Lightheartedness and laughter is an essential and wonderful part of life. It is best practiced by laughing at our own mistakes, mishaps, plus being the center of a joke. The ability to laugh at oneself also creates charisma and lets others around us relax, since they are then at lesser risk of being judged. And nobody likes to be judged!

The Dalai Lama is a good example of someone who has a happy approach to life. While his circumstances and his roles are sometimes grave and profound, he lightens every crowd he meets with his laughter and even humorous wisdom about life.

Even if it might be too late for April Fool´s Day by the time you read this, it is still worth the effort to incorporate more lightness and humor into your daily life. Just do it! I am certain it will make you laugh. It will also help you forget the little annoyances that can add up when humor is missing from your life. If you attempt to initiate a practical joke you will see that it takes creativity and planning, some courage and a loved person to bestow the joke upon.
Here’s wishing you harmless and memorable fun with those you love.

Author Sabine Starr is a psychologist licensed in Vienna, Austria, currently living and working in Mission Hills. She has written numerous articles for professional psychology journals. For further information, visit and follow her blog at; and a new social media offering is

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