iStock
iStock

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

iStock
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.

 
See Also...
This Tiny Pub Was Just Named "Best Restaurant in the World"
*
This Map Shows the Most Popular Halloween Candy in Your State
*
The Spookiest Towns to Celebrate Halloween in America
 

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.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
The Tiny Government Office That Will Replace Your Ripped, Burned, and Chewed-Up Cash
iStock
iStock

Cash is designed to be sturdier than regular paper, but it isn't indestructible. A fire, flood, or hungry pet could be all it takes to reduce your emergency savings to a ruined heap of scraps. But just because a bank will no longer accept that money doesn't mean it's worthless. As Great Big Story explains in the video below, there's an entire division of the U.S. Department of Treasury dedicated to reimbursing people for damaged cash.

The Mutilated Currency Division processes roughly 23,000 cases a year, paying out about $40 million annually to replace bills that are no longer fit for circulation. It accepts money in any condition—the only requirement is that the claim must include at least 51 percent of the original note, to avoid reimbursing someone twice for the same bill.

After someone submits a claim for damaged cash, the team examines the bills with scalpels, tweezers, knives, or whatever other tools are necessary to go through the stacks and verify just how much money is there. Bills arrive in varying states: Some have been clumped together and petrified by water, charred in ovens, or chewed up by insects. In one infamous case, a farmer sent in the whole stomach of the cow that had swallowed his wallet.

Once the office processes the claim, it issues a reimbursement check for that amount, and the unusable money is officially taken out of circulation. But the U.S. government finds other uses for that ruined cash. For example, over 4 tons of old currency are mulched at a farm in Delaware every day.

You can watch the full video from Great Big Story below to learn more.

[h/t Great Big Story]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
Iceland Named Safest Country in the World for the 11th Year in a Row
iStock
iStock

Each year, an Australian think tank called the Institute for Economics and Peace analyzes the political situation in 163 countries to come up with the Global Peace Index, a ranking of how peaceful different regions of the world are. As Business Insider reports, for the 11th year in a row, Iceland took the top spot in the 2018 rankings, making it officially the most peaceful country on Earth.

According to the institute’s rankings, which take into account factors like government functioning, levels of corruption, violent crime rates, incarceration rates, terrorist attacks, weapons imports and exports, and military expenditures, Europe is the safest region in the world. Six of the top 10 safest countries in the world are located in Europe—Iceland (No. 1), Austria (No. 3), Portugal (No. 4), Denmark (No. 5), the Czech Republic (No. 7), and Ireland (No. 10). New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, and Japan also made the top 10 list.

A ranking of the top-ranking countries on the peace index
Institute for Economics and Peace

A color-coded map showing the state of peace in each country
Institute for Economics and Peace

Overall, the report found that as a whole, global levels of peace have fallen for the fourth year in a row. Ninety-two countries have seen their rankings fall, while 71 countries improved their standing.

The U.S. was one of those 71 countries that moved up in the rankings, but overall, it had a pretty poor showing. Though Americans may see their homeland as a relatively safe place, by the institute’s rankings, it’s not even in the top 100 safest countries in the world. It ranks 121st, up one spot from last year. The report cites increasing political polarization, the presence of nuclear weapons, high rates of incarceration, weapons exports, and involvement in external conflicts as some of the factors that have kept the U.S.’s score low. On the bright side, the report notes that the country’s homicide rates have fallen substantially over the last decade.

Contrast that with our Nordic friend Iceland. While Iceland has a relatively high rate of gun ownership—“access to small arms” is one of the negative factors the index analyzes—it also has some of the lowest rates of violent crime in the world. The country doesn’t have a military force, and police deploy weapons so infrequently that it made international news when, in 2013, Icelandic police shot a man to death for the first time in the country’s history as an independent republic. Most of the police force isn’t even armed. And, of course, the government takes elves' wishes into account while building new roads. (OK, maybe the report didn't include the elf factor in its analysis.)

Sounds like it's time to move to Iceland.

Read the whole report here.

[h/t Business Insider]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios