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.

America's Divorce Rate is Declining—and We Have Millennials to Thank for It

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iStock/Jason_Lee_Hughes

Millennials are reportedly killing off yet another cultural mainstay, but this time, it may be a good thing. According to Bloomberg, divorce rates are going down, thanks to the commitment powers of younger generations.

Between 2008 and 2016, the divorce rate in the U.S. dropped by 18 percent, according to a new analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Controlling for related factors like age (older people are less likely to get divorced than younger couples), the rate still dropped by 8 percent. By contrast, Baby Boomers have consistently divorced at higher rates than previous generations.

Many declines that Millennials are blamed for—like rates of homeownership or having kids—can actually be attributed to the dismal finances of a generation that came of age in a recession, is saddled with crushing student debt, and faces high costs of living and low wage growth. Divorces can be expensive, too. Yet several trends point to a higher likelihood of marriage stability for the Millennial generation that has nothing to do with finances. On average, Millennials are marrying later in life, and spending more time dating partners prior to marriage than earlier generations, both of which correlate with a lower chance of divorce, according to social scientists.

“The U.S. is progressing toward a system in which marriage is rarer, and more stable, than it was in the past,” author Philip Cohen writes in the paper.

Sorry, law school students, but it looks like being a divorce lawyer is going to get a little less lucrative in the future.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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