Life has its ups and downs, and the downs can be particularly difficult to endure at times. When people are going through difficult periods in their lives, they try to cope in a variety of ways, such as going for a walk, reaching out to friends for support, or practising mindfulness and meditation. While all of this can be beneficial, there is one great coping strategy that you don't typically hear about: humour.
Humour can be an effective stress reliever. Instead of being solemn, you can try to separate yourself from the problem at hand by cracking a joke. While doing this, you're taking a step back and separating yourself from the issues at hand, which can help you view things more clearly. This is significant because prolonged stress can impact the immune system if left untreated, and cause a variety of health problems, both physical as well as mental.
The benefits of having a sense of humour
Anyone, at any time, can benefit from having a good sense of humour. According to Dr Mehezabin Dordi, clinical psychologist, rehabilitation and sports medicine department, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai, “Humour is the most natural and inexpensive way to reduce stress, anxiety, and tension, while also boosting physical and mental health and promoting a positive worldview. People with a good sense of humour are less anxious, depressed, and disturbed in general when faced with stressful conditions than those who lack the ability to see things in a humorous light.” She also highlights that countless research projects on humour show that it plays a crucial role in reaching and maintaining improved psychological wellness.
Humour may assist us in a variety of ways. Your mental health may be affected by how you use humour or how it is used on you by others. Participating in some light-hearted hilarity can help us feel better. If you enjoy making others laugh in order to develop your ties with others and form friendships, you may be protected from anxiety and despair. If you find humour in the little things at, let’s say, your job, it’ll make the work you do more enjoyable while also lessening the stress.
So how exactly can humour help you cope with stress, if not eliminate it? Dr Dordi shares some strategies you can use to add a little joy to your daily routine:
1. Smile Away: Even if you have to fake it, smiling can make you happier. This is due to the production of feel-good endorphins by smiling (whether real or false). Furthermore, a phoney smile is more likely to lead to a genuine one, which means that laughter will be easier to come by, and stress will melt away faster.
2. Understand The Extremes: Recognise the potential humour in how insanely difficult and annoying your circumstance is if it looks ridiculously frustrating. You could also imagine a scenario where you take the situation to its logical conclusion and make it even more absurd until you find yourself entertained. This helps you take stock of the current situation and aid you in looking for solutions.
3. Bless Up: Simply put, make a list of everything you are grateful for. The simple act of focusing on the positive aspects of your life can help you avoid negative thoughts that prevent you from laughing and having fun.
4. Shared Laughter: Find a friend or a group of pals with whom you can vent your frustrations and struggles while also laughing about them. Having strong social support can help you cope better.
5. Entertainment Options: Reading or viewing comedic interpretations of life might help you keep a light-hearted attitude and discover your own unique way of perceiving the world. So put on your favourite comedy show, or pick up a humorous book, and shift your focus on them.