“Stress coping strategies,” or “how to deal with excessive stress,” and other similar phrases are among the most popular Google search inquiries in the U.S. Indeed, the common American citizen faces a huge amount of stressful events, starting from fees and taxes and ending up with career issues, divorce, or the death of relatives. And although antidepressant medicine is extremely developed and popular in the U.S., there is an effective, safe, and free way to cope with stress. This is having a strong sense of humor.
Specialists around the world have noticed that people with a strong sense of humor tend to be happier, and deal with stress better than those who take negative events close to their hearts or ruminate about them. Having a strong sense of humor does not mean their jokes are always funny, however; it means they try to find the positive or funny side in their misfortunes, or at least do not react negatively (FRI Online). Therefore, a sense of humor can directly influence how a person feels, in terms of both mind and body.
Scientists claim that a sense of humor has both short-term and long-term positive effects on our bodies and minds. For example, in a short-term perspective, a sense of humor can stimulate your internal organs (due to fresh oxygen-rich air which you inhale when you laugh), such as the heart, lungs, and muscles, and free you from some physical effects of stress; when you laugh, your blood circulates faster, and different groups of muscles relax, which results in a better mood. Long-term effects include the strengthening of your immune system, improving your overall mood and satisfaction with life and yourself, and even pain relieve; laughter is known to be able to break the pain-spasm cycle common to some muscle disorders (MayoClinic).
To those who think a person either has a sense of humor or does not, you can develop your sense of humor through working on it. If you work on it, it will become an even more effective anti-stress weapon for you than just being humorous from birth. This is illustrated with the following experiment that took place. Two groups of senior citizens allocated in different retirement centers were given special tasks to accomplish during eight weeks. The first group needed to perform a number of activities designed to build their humor skills; the second group during all this time gathered to watch comedies every night. At the end of the experiment, it turned out that the first group that was actively working on humor skills was not just coping better with the stress, but also used humor as a coping tool more often and more effectively than ever before.
In the modern world, where stressful events happen every day, it is important to have a tool that can help us cope with inner friction. A sense of humor is exactly this kind of tool—it is free and effective. Studies show that a sense of humor helps people treat their misfortunes with more ease; moreover, humor and laughter causes a row of positive short and long-term effects on people’s minds and bodies. It is important to know you can develop your humor skills through actively working on them; in this case, it will become an extremely effective tool in the matter of dealing with stress.
“Stress Relief from Laughter? It’s No Joke.” MayoClinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.
“Humor and Mental Health: Using Humor to Cope With Stress.” Humor and Mental Health: Using Humor to Cope With Stress (Part of Humor and Health Online CEU Course). N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
“Does Having a Sense of Humor Make Any Difference?” FRI-Online. N.p., n.d. Web