Humor is one of the truly elegant defenses in the human repertoire. Few would deny that the capacity for humor, like hope, is one of mankind’s most potent antidotes for the woes of Pandora’s box.”
Dr. George E. Vailliant
Harvard Medical School, Adaptations to Life
Humor is a way to reframe your negative self-talk — it is a natural stress reducer. Laughter actually relieves tension and creates a feeling of well-being. Believing that people under less stress will function better at their jobs, some companies have even hired “humor consultants” to keep their employees laughing. These companies claim that such efforts are responsible for reducing stress and decreasing serious accidents on the job!
Use humor in your daily life:
Look for something funny in everyday situations.
Think about playing at your work. What would that be like?
Watch a funny movie or read a funny book when you’re feeling stressed.
Exaggerate something to the point of absurdity. Say or think something outrageous and unexpected.
Try this humor exercise:
Close your eyes and with slow, deep breathing, allow yourself to become more relaxed. Imagine a difficult situation you may be facing in your life right now, like telling your boss you made a mistake or making a big presentation at work. Then, create a humorous alternative to your usual response to such a situation, and feel your stress melt away!
Three mechanisms have been suggested to explain how positive emotions, such as humor, result in successful coping. First, humor gives you a break from ongoing stress and buys time for creatively altering your otherwise automatic stress response. Second, humor restores or replenishes depleted emotional resources. Third, humor acts to sustain you so you are better able to persist in coping.”
Margaret Baim, M.S., R.N., and Loretta LaRoche, B.A.
Mind/Body, Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School
Minaker KL, Burley D, Penny R, Haber D, Quinlan J, Coley C, Rosenthal D.
Stress Management Guidebook: Program for Lifelong Health Maintenance.
President and Fellows of Harvard College and Harvard University Health Services, Cambridge, MA. 1996.
FOR MORE INFO. CHECK OUR PROGRAM, ‘HUMOR AND HEALTH’ FROM ‘THE WALKING THROUGH THE STORM’ SERIES; AND ALSO ‘LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE.’