We’ve all heard the popular saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” But does that type of thinking apply to something as serious as a global pandemic? Most psychologists would say yes. Humor helps people take back their sense of power in a powerless situation and it helps them connect with others—two things we have lost during this pandemic.
And although there is nothing particularly funny about what we’re going through, science suggests that those funny memes, silly TikTok videos, and snarky online quotes may be just what we need to ease the overwhelming fear, anxiety, and grief many of us are dealing with on a daily basis.
Even loneliness has become as crushing as the pandemic itself, threatening to overwhelm people every day. Clearly, we need something to lighten the stress load we’re all experiencing. And humor could be just what the doctor ordered.
How People Benefit From Laughing
Obviously, the seriousness of COVID-19 is no laughing matter. People are dying every day, and those in the medical field are being stretched beyond what any person should have to bear. But we all need to find a way to cope with the dangers and limitations we’re facing—or risk serious mental health consequences.
For some, the answer may be laughter. Laughter activates important feel-good hormones in the brain, while also reducing stress-related hormones like cortisol.
Laughter also increases the number of antibody-producing cells we have working in our bodies. And it enhances our T-cells, which are at the core of adaptive immunity and help tailor our immune response. All of this equates to a stronger immune system.
Research also indicates that humor benefits a person’s physical and psychological state. Studies show that humor has the ability to provide pain relief, improve positive emotions, regulate stress, disengage from distress, and improve interpersonal communications. According to the Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor, people experience a 39% reduction in stress just by anticipating humor.
There also is a physical release that comes through laughter—it’s a cleansing sort of feeling that impacts us both physically and emotionally. Most people feel really good after laughing, reporting that they feel like a weight has been lifted. And at a time when so much is weighing us down, it can be very therapeutic to engage in some good-natured humor.How to Improve Your Psychological Well-Being During a Crisis
Ways to Add Humor to Your Life
Laughter is a free and easy stress management tool that can be used by just about anyone to lighten mood and improve mental health. Here are some ways to add a little humor into your life during this challenging time.
Subscribe to Funny YouTube Channels
There’s nothing funnier than watching goofy pet videos. Even videos of babies doing silly things can be entertaining. So, if you’re feeling a little down and want a good laugh, just log onto YouTube and search “popular comedy” or “funny videos.” You’re bound to find something that will make you laugh. Or you may want to subscribe to regular YouTubers that make a living making others laugh. Then you will have a regular stream of funny videos ready to go.
If you’re wondering what to look for, you might try Good Mythical Morning. You also could check out the Holderness Family, Kristin and Danny Adams, and or even Heather Land’s “I Ain’t Doin It.” Bad Lip Reading of the NFL is usually good for a few laughs too. The options are endless.
Watch Comedians Online
Countless numbers of comedians are offering their comedy routines online. Even with social distancing measures in place, many are still putting out new material.
All the regulars, like Jimmy Fallon, Steven Colbert, and Jimmy Kimmel, are producing regular material that is readily available. Simply do a quick search to find the latest material or watch some older versions. And let’s not forget about the copious amounts of content available on Hulu, HBO, and Netflix. Just head over to the comedy section and laugh until your sides hurt.