While the CoronaVirus is definitely no laughing matter, it doesn’t mean that we cannot make light of the situation by enjoying a few memes, tiktok videos, or blogs. Stress when dealing with difficult situations, is rather inevitable, however humanity has always been blessed with the talent of creating jokes and using humour to make any situation a little less dark. The same can be done for coping with the stress that the COVID-19 has brought with it.

Using laughter to cope with stress or tragedy isn’t something new, comedians have sold out entire theatre’s for decades on dark humour based performances alone. Sigmund Freud himself, the father of psychoanalysis, discussed how jokes offer us a way to cope with difficulties. Professionals across medical and psychological professions also agree that laughter can help us deal with pain, stress and other symptoms.

Here a few ideas of how you can get those endorphins, the body’s natural feel good chemicals, floating through your system:

  1. It’s time for Netflix and Laugh – Make the most of your quarantine, by sitting down and popping on that comedic movie you’ve been meaning to pick up for a while, or re-watch a classic favourite TV show (That 70’s show anyone?). Keeping away from shows with sad story-lines or discouraging content, can also help you keep any stressful triggers to a minimum.
  2. Comedians – Whatever topics get your giggles going, there are various large-scale and small-scale comedians on various social media platforms, such as YouTube, Netflix and even TikTok and Instagram if very short entertaining videos is your thing. The internet is never short of ways to keep us laughing if comedy is what you are looking for.
  3. Get your game face on – It’s the opportune time to sit on the sofa with your family and friends, with some tea and snacks, and enjoy an entertaining game of Cards Against Humanity, Joking Hazard or a classic game of charades. Laughter is said to increase bonding, so what better time is there than this to laugh together?
  4. Podcasts – There are a multitude of different comedy podcasts that can keep you entertained for hours. The beauty of podcasts is that you can leave them on in the background while doing other things, such as cook, draw, or play with your pets!

Laughing at your favourite TV show, or cracking a few jokes with your friends (while standing at least a meter apart of course) does not make you a bad person, or someone who is not taking the Coronavirus, or any other difficult situation for that matter, seriously. It actually releases some endorphins into the brain, and these positive chemicals help the body to calm down and relax, just what we need during this difficult time!

Freud, S, (1960). Jokes and their relation to the unconscious. New York: Norton.

Louie, D., Brook, K., & Frates, E. (2016). The Laughter Prescription: A Tool for Lifestyle Medicine. American journal of lifestyle medicine, 10(4), 262–267. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827614550279

Nicola Falzon is a psychology officer within the Willingness Team, delivering training and workshops on mental health, managing different services such as Sex Clinic Malta, and organising different events. Nicola is also involved in various projects related to sexuality.