It might be from watching the news, reading death rate statistics or listening to a story from a neighbor that hits a little too close to home.
Along with getting adequate sleep, eating a well-balanced, healthy diet, and routinely moving and exercising, it is also important at this time to laugh. Yes—giggle, snicker, chuckle, howl or roar—as a good laugh can greatly affect your outlook, mood, and overall mental and physical health in a positive way.
Although laughing is a result of something not so serious, the physical act of laughing can create serious health benefits. Did you know?
Laughter can alleviate stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, fight heart disease and stroke risk, relieve body tension, help with memory, boost the immune system, relieve pain, socially connect us with others, and much more.
Barbara Walker, Ph.D., UC Health integrative health and performance psychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, tells us to “create some levity” to help us maintain resilience during COVID-19.
Below are seven easy ways to help alleviate stress and trigger laughter during these uncertain times.
Watch movies or TV shows that make you laugh.
Choose fun and light-hearted movies or TV shows to watch, or even ask for suggestions from friends. Although we should not spend too much time on screens, sometimes watching a movie or show is all the encouragement you need to take some time off from stressful activities and create some laughter.
Look for the levity in a situation.
Take the extra time you previously spent on commuting to take a step back and observe nature, notice the kindness of strangers around you and maybe even pick up a new hobby. Perhaps you could take the time to write down any observations or changes you witness in society, the natural world, or your own home.
Have you noticed yourself in any funny situations due to the pandemic? Any goofy moments on virtual meetings (maybe someone forgot their microphone was still on)? While the presence of this virus in our world is no laughing matter, there is much importance to finding the small things each day that allow for levity in each of our lives.
Listen to a comedic podcast.
Maybe with the lack of commuting, you have forgotten about those podcasts you were listening to. Pick a fun, comedic podcast to listen to while working in the garden, walking, sitting out on your deck, cooking, or anything else. Even though our world was recently turned upside down, we can still feel stuck in a routine. This is a simple and great way to bring laughter and joy to our everyday lives.
Video conference with friends or family who look for humor too.
Schedule a weekly virtual date with your friends or family, and take a trip down memory lane. Share past memories, revisit times in college, high school, or the workplace, and make sure you get some laughs in. Even though it can be hard not to see your loved ones in person, reaching out during times of hardship is an important piece of keeping one’s mental health in good shape.
Follow comedic social media content.
We are so often bombarded with bad news on social media, so next time you’re on Facebook or Instagram, look for some accounts or posts that will make you laugh. This is an easy way to brighten up any social media feed.
No matter the age, play games.
Make sure to let out your inner child and play games as often as you desire. You can do this at home with family or virtually with friends. As warmer weather arises, make sure to get outside and play around in nature as well.
Take yourself less seriously.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself. As pressure and stress reach unexpectedly high levels, remember to give yourself grace. It’s okay to make mistakes and be able to laugh at yourself.
Dr. Walker says, “We often tend to not take the time to pause, so with any extra time you may find yourself currently having, mindfully and with intention, allow yourself to choose to find the lighter moments with laughter, love, and compassion.”