Monday, December 13, 2010

Effects of Humor on the Reduction of Stress

As the semester comes to an end, stress becomes an inevitable part of many students’ lives. Stress results when life demands strain-coping resources or behaviors motivated to meet life’s demands. Strain is apparent when resources are not adequate or the demand is too great. Stress can manifest into a number of symptoms characterized as physical, psychological, or maladaptive. Physical symptoms can include headaches, nausea, and sleep disturbance. While psychological symptoms of anxiety, depression, and feeling helpless can indicate stress, maladaptive behaviors such as drinking more alcohol, eating poorly, and filling time passively can result when attempting to cope with stress. It is widely agreed upon in the psychological community that a sense of humor can moderate the impact of negative life events. There are many reasons why humor can be a stress reducer. It is one of the many positive emotions that are beneficial in counteracting stress according to Folkman and Moskowitz in our text. They reached that conclusion from the idea that laughing and feeling amused can enhance positive emotions which in turn cause a reduction in stress. Viewing life events as humorous can help make the appraisal process more positive or less negative. Additional social benefits can be attained through having a sense of humor because those with a good sense of humor tend to attract other individuals to them providing greater social support which helps in the reduction of stress. I have included a video link of a man who is extremely stressed out at work and deals with it in a very humorous way.

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