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May 24, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Articles

Laughter – The Stress-buster

There’s no simpler way of putting it – stress can make you sick. Dealing some serious harm to your physical and mental health, unnecessary strain and tension is a lot more detrimental than we think. High blood pressure, indigestion, insomnia and even forgetfulness are just some of the consequences attributed to stress that many people aren’t even aware of. In fact, stress is the catalyst for many conditions and disorders, and in the most extreme cases, can lead to serious illness and death. Although it shouldn’t be relied upon as the sole method of intervention, a good sense of humor has been shown to be quite the helpful stress-buster. So crack a smile and let’s get started!

Research has shown that people who use humor to cope with stress and who generally find themselves in a good mood also had stronger immune systems - more so than their less giggly counterparts (Tugade & Fredrickson, 2004). Even psychologists, known to have one of the most stressful occupations, cited a sense of humor as one of the best methods to keep themselves sane (Stevanovic & Rupert, 2004). After all, listening to other people’s problems day in and day out can no doubt take its toll. And it isn’t just our physical and psychological well-being that can benefit from a healthy dose of laughter! Studies have also shown that a good sense of humor can counterbalance – to a certain extent – the harmful effects of poor conflict-resolution skills. In essence, even if you (or your partner) are really bad at resolving an argument, expressing a little humor about the situation can lessen the severity of it (Johnson, Cohan, Davila, Lawrence, Rogge, Karney, Sullivan & Bradbury, 2005). Of course, if the issue you’re dealing with is pretty serious, like infidelity, cracking a joke probably wouldn’t be a good idea.

Although there are multiple methods that can help us cope better with stress, laughter is likely one of the most underrated – and most entertaining as well. Keeping in mind that making light of more solemn situations isn’t generally the best way to deal with them, everyday stressors like traffic, slow service at the grocery store, or those pleasant little birds that love to chirp you up at the crack of dawn could all benefit from a little chuckle. So go ahead, make fun of annoying Aunt Gladys’ mole, or picture that cop (who just gave you a speeding ticket) naked with a funny hat; you’re much better off exploding in peals of laughter than volcano-like rage.

 
 
References

1. Bonanno, G. A. Loss, Trauma, and Human Resilience: Have We Underestimated the Human Capacity to Thrive After Extremely Aversive Events? American Psychologist 59(1). Jan 2004, 20-28

2. Johnson, M. D.; Cohan, C. L.; Davila, J.; Lawrence, E.; Rogge, R. D.; Karney, B. R.; Sullivan, K. T. & Bradbury, T. N. Problem-Solving Skills and Affective Expressions as Predictors of Change in Marital Satisfaction. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 73(1) Feb 2005, 15-27

3. Stevanovic, P. & Rupert, P. A. Career-Sustaining Behaviors, Satisfactions, and Stresses of Professional Psychologists Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 41(3) Fall 2004, 301-309

4. Tugade, M. M. & Fredrickson, B. L. Resilient Individuals Use Positive Emotions to Bounce Back From Negative Emotional Experiences Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 86(2) Feb 2004, 320-333

5. Vedanta Heritage Foundation (date unknown) Stress Induced Illnesses). Retrieved Jan. 5, 2006, from http://www.vmission.org/vhf/smw/illness.htm

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