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Using Humor To Cope

Updated: Aug 20, 2020

Authored By: Emily Talbot, LISW-S

Brenè Brown said “laughter forces us to breathe in times where we can’t find our breath.” If there ever was a time when we collectively struggled to find our breath, it would be now. The pandemic is impacting us all in different ways, but we are all trying to figure out how to cope with this new life. So let’s find our breath with some laughter, and get through this together.

Perhaps you can’t find humor in the pandemic itself, but what about finding humor in what the pandemic has done to you? Can you chuckle at yourself when you have no idea what day/date/month it is? Is there humor in the excitement you feel waving to a neighbor, when pre-pandemic you avoided all impromptu social encounters? Regardless of living in a pandemic, being able to laugh at yourself is always a good coping skill to use. I developed the ability to laugh at myself at a young age. I’ve always been accident prone, and a little absent minded, so things not going according to plan or ending in near disaster is a common occurrence. These experiences could be sources of frustration, but they are often opportunities for me to laugh at myself. After I’ve had a good laugh, I can share my story to make someone else laugh. For example, the time I chased after my 11 month old to give her a dog treat, only I wasn’t aware that I was holding a dog treat until it was pointed out to me. No babies or dogs were harmed in the making of this story, so go ahead and have a laugh at my expense. I certainly did.

If you can’t laugh at yourself, find something else you can laugh about. Give yourself the gift of experiencing humor daily. A slight smile to interrupt a scowl, a good chuckle that relaxes the muscles in your face, a nice belly laugh that leaves your stomach muscles burning long after the laughter has stopped. These experiences are important and necessary, regardless of what is going on in the world. Go ahead and give yourself permission to seek out, and experience the joy of humor.

Be intentional when you seek humor. I’m sure many of us scroll on social media hoping to find a good meme, or a story that makes us chuckle; but along the way we encounter the opposite. Before you know it, you’re doom scrolling. Consider going directly to the social media accounts you follow for funny posts. Watch your favorite comedian. Choose a funny movie or TV show to watch, even if you’re not in the mood for funny. Perhaps you are fortunate enough to be around funny people. Live comedy is fantastic! Children are natural comedians, and their humor is often unintentional which makes it all the more irresistible. I am lucky enough to live with 3 tiny comedians. I try to write down their material so I always have it to look back on and laugh. Since kid quotes are my favorite medium for comedy, I often visit You can submit kids’ quotes of your own if you want to share the laughter you experience at home. You can follow them on social media as well, for gems like, “I don’t like hot sauce. It makes me nervous.” Reese, 3 years old. Do you have pets? It might be more challenging not to laugh at animal antics. When I’m not laughing at my little dog, I enjoy consuming animal comedy the old fashioned way by watching America’s Funniest Home Videos.

I hope you make laughter a daily priority in your life. Take a moment to find your breath. Feel the relaxation in your face after a chuckle. Notice how a smile interrupts a scowl. Feel your stomach muscles burning after a good belly laugh. We all need this. Now, more than ever.

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