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Tips on Using Humor as a Coping Mechanism

    When you encounter difficult times, you may find yourself turning to using humor as a coping mechanism. It’s true what they say, laughter is the best medicine. Sometimes it feels easier to laugh off something that is challenging or difficult rather than dealing with it head-on. 

    Many people are reporting an increase in stress and anxiety since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’ve found yourself turning to humor as a coping mechanism during this time, you are not alone. Keep reading for ways that humor can help you get through tough times. 

    Shift Your Perspective 

    Humor can be an incredibly powerful tool when you are experiencing challenges in your life. When you are feeling overwhelmed or upset about something, trying to find some humor in the situation can shift your perspective on the issue. 

    How you look at a situation makes all the difference in how you feel about what’s going on. You have the power to look at the brighter side of even the most difficult situation. When you focus on finding something funny or happy to think about, you will be better able to cope with the hard times.

    Sometimes all it takes is looking at a situation from a different perspective.  This can help you gain new insights on why something might have happened the way that it did. If you can stop and laugh about it rather than wallowing in the sadness of it, you can pull yourself back up.  This may help keep your from worrying so much about it.

    Reduce Overall Levels of Stress

    More than 80% of adults reported that they were stressed in 2021 due to the pandemic, political climate, and just the overall pressures of life. If you find yourself getting worked up or stressed easily, humor can be a great way to break through that stress.

    If you learn to use humor as a coping mechanism, it can help you reduce your stress. It takes practice to consistently look at the positive side of things and make jokes in the face of challenging or difficult events.  However, it’s worth it for the mental health benefits. 

    People with an overall happier, more joyful disposition are less likely to be completely sidelined by a stressful situation. Certainly, there are always major events or scenarios that could cause unavoidable stress. Even so, if you use humor effectively you will spend less time in the stress and more time moving forward.

     

    Help Processing Difficult Emotions

    Although many people benefit from dealing directly with difficult emotions and situations head-on, humor can help. If you find yourself in a pattern of depression, anxiety, or stress where your thoughts are intrusive and all-consuming, bringing levity to the situation can help you work through those feelings.

    When times are difficult it’s easy to get stuck in a pattern of sad, depressing thoughts, which can make it harder to find healthy ways to cope and move on. Using humor to process is not just a way of avoiding the difficult times (although it can be if used incorrectly). Rather it’s a way of reframing and finding new ways to understand the situation.

    Using humor to process difficult emotions is a wonderful thing because it is something you can use to help other people as well. 

    You can give the gift of humor to your friends and loved ones who may need help navigating a tough time in their lives. Sometimes having someone else encourage them to process in this way can make all the difference.

    This is an especially helpful tool for parents of young children. Humor can help you work through big feelings or tough times with your child in a way that is developmentally appropriate and makes sense for them. Kids enjoy laughter and fun, so it comes naturally to them.

    Humor is also wonderful when trying to help the elderly. Many times the elderly will struggle with giving up important aspects of their lives as they get older. It can be hard to cope with their body or mind not working in the way they are used to. Consequently, sometimes humor can help them process the changes more easily.

    Laughter Is Cheaper Than Therapy

    If you can teach yourself to laugh through the hard times, you may save some money on a therapist! Laughter is a completely free way to shift your perspective.  It can change your state of mind and help focus on something other than the situation that is making you upset or angry. 

    It’s understandable that therapy isn’t always an option for everyone. Perhaps a therapist isn’t in the budget.  Maybe you don’t have time to make it to weekly or monthly appointments, or you just aren’t comfortable with the concept of therapy.  However, laughter and humor are always accessible when you need them.

    There is certainly a time and a place where therapy is necessary and recommended to help you get through a major situation like depression or anxiety. However, don’t discount the power of using humor as a coping mechanism and an important tool for your healing.

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