By: Alejandra Malaga Walters, Francis College of Engineering Well-being Leader
Although there’s no way to eliminate life’s challenges completely, humor can be a great mechanism for dealing with stress. A sense of humor can help you build resilience to stress and improve your overall physical and emotional health.
Research has shown that laughter therapy reduces stress, and it can enhance the overall quality of life. Humor can distract you from difficult situations and allow you to look at the same situation in different ways. Most college students face immense stress during presentations, projects, deadlines, and homework. For instance, being stressed during a group project because a member of your group was not doing their job. This can be very stressful and make you angry because your grade depends on their work. But what if you try to make the experience more fun with your other group members? By working together with the other members of the group so you don’t focus on all the work you have to do just by yourself, you can laugh and joke and enjoy working on the project. There are different ways to try to make light of a situation depending on your sense of humor. Do you really want to be over-stressed? Besides, being stressed doesn’t help you do your job better, in fact, you can’t put in your 100% when you are stressed.
But how can we add in humor and remain serious about our work? Sometimes, it’s very hard to make something funny when you are upset or overwhelmed. For that reason, you can start by cultivating your sense of humor in a few easy ways, and the more often you practice them, the more automatic they’ll become. First, you start with a smile. Even just faking a smile can increase happiness and not just the appearance of it. This is because the act of smiling, whether real or fake, causes your body to release feel-good chemicals known as endorphins. Another thing you can do when you’re in the middle of a difficult situation is take a step back and view your situation as an objective observer. This can help you find some potential absurdities in the little things l, and you may end up laughing. Finally, recruit funny friends. Social support is a crucial part of stress management. Find a friend or group of friends with whom you can share your frustrations and challenges and laugh about them in the process. Using humor in stressful situations can help you realize that situation is only a moment in your life, not your entire life.
If you need someone to make you laugh or smile, visit me in my office hours next semester!