How do you keep your spirits up in these tense and frightening times? It’s the question on everyone’s lips as people adopt social distancing and work from home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

Humor is one way to cope. A good joke during a crisis can go a long way in lightening the mood. Laughter isn’t just a great stress buster, it also aids collaboration. It creates a sense of community and signals to everyone around you, “Hey, everything is fine over here; we’re going to be alright.”

As offices shut down and people are forced to work in isolation from the confines of their homes, many are finding solace in humor. The flood of quarantine and working-from-home memes on WhatsApp groups is a testament to the fact that when the going gets tough, the tough get going—with humor.

Experts believe that humor can help during a crisis. In his book, A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness, neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran came out with a theory that laughter evolved as a signal to us, and those around us, that what appeared as a threat or a dangerous situation was not actually dangerous. 

According to Dr. Alex Lickerman, founder and CEO of primary care medical practice ImagineMD, laughter and humor could signal that whatever traumatic event we are going through is not that bad. This could diminish the effects of the traumatic situation and might aid our recovery.

Our situation is changing and we are constantly trying to adapt to the challenges each day is bringing—isolation, bad news, fear and anxiety. I myself fell prey to lonely despair recently, and what helped me cope was a video conference where my entire team shared jokes, memes and their work-from-home experience. The fact that we could collectively sit together and laugh about our situation played an important part in signaling that maybe things weren’t so bad.

So, you might be sitting at home, bogged down by your tasks for the day, but take some time out to appreciate a colleague’s quarantine meme, laugh at a teammate’s joke on a video call. They’ll feel better, you’ll feel better and work might run a little more smoothly for the day. Remember, laughter really is the best medicine. So, go ahead and laugh a little harder.

Aishwarya Agarwal is Associate Specialist, Curriculum at Harappa Education

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