Do you sometimes feel like you’re on the brink of breaking down that you scream your lungs out of frustration, but then, something funny caught your eyes and instantaneously, diverting your mood in a new kind of light? That’s humor for you.
Humor can make a lot of positive contributions to people. But most importantly, it can brighten up your atmosphere.
So you’ll wonder, how is it that something seemingly outrageous and comical can affect the way you think and feel? Let’s dig deeper into that.
The good side of stress
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as good stress. According to Aarti Gupta, PsyD, clinical director “Some stress on a person is a normal part of everyday life. This ‘good stress’ called ‘eustress’ can help propel you forward and motivate you to achieve goals.” But before tackling into that, and before you understand how humor works, you should first understand how stress antagonizes the human body. Stress is the condition that occurs upon the demands of daily living, most specifically time, attention, and effort. When a person’s energy has already exceeded its recognized capacity to handle certain situations, and no amount of adapting can effectively counter its effects, the body becomes pressured and stressed out.
On the other hand, there is such a thing as tolerable stress. It’s that kind of stress that makes us grow in wisdom and strength to face different challenges and effectively acclimates in the process. Tolerable or tame stress is said to be beneficial for a person’s mental and physical development. The mechanism of this type of stress is that it immediately shifts the body’s response into endurance mode whenever it is faced with various forms of tasks or expectations; making the body more focused on its priorities. Edna M. Esnil, PsyD once stated, “Identifying which stressors help me succeed (good stress) and which block my success (bad stress), then managing the stress that blocks my success” is the best way to understand it.
The thing about tolerable stress is that it tends to release hormones that the body must utilize wisely.The release of stress hormones without recognizing its primary intention will create discord inside the body, promoting a constant state of anxiety. If this continues, the body has too much stress becomes toxic and it blocks a person’s ability for effective problem-solving and decision-making.
Isn’t it a bit funny that stress was initially created by the body to make it more efficient; however, in the long run, it becomes the same entity that destroys its very foundation? Well, stress is not a laughing matter. Come to think about it, stress in itself a hysterical irony. Finding humor in how our body works is somehow beneficial for it allows the brain to reflect and process that information; thereby releasing the stress of that reality and changing the mind’s stressful state into a more relaxed one.
Ryan M. Niemiec Psy.D. said “Prior to an upcoming stressor, reflect on how much you value one of your character strengths.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should ignore your stress and just laugh at it. It just means that you should allow your mind to find humor in stressful things to give yourself that moment of slowing down. Besides, humor can release endorphins that can counter the effects of stress. So, let that sink in.
Laughter is indeed the best medicine
According to research, finding something absurd and hilarious can reduce stress hormone production which then decreases inflammation in some regions of the body. Lowering the levels of stress hormones can also benefit a person’s cognitive ability and improve one’s memory which paves the way to efficient problem-solving.
With that, it is always recommended to find something funny in whatever you do. It may take some time to get adapted to this nature, but once you’ve figured out how to turn things around, you’ll be fascinated how well you handle the stress of everyday living.