Using Humour To Tackle Anxiety and Stress - Anxiety Relief with Laughter:

One of the things I'm really enjoying about having an Alexa at home is asking it to tell a joke each day. There's nothing that lifts the mood like a good joke is there? Or to be honest, even a bad joke that makes you grin and moan about how awful it is can lift the mood too.

The other day this was the joke of the day...'What's blue and smells like red paint?..........Blue paint!' That actually made me laugh out loud and I enjoyed it so much I've told it to dozens of people (I got a typical groan from my kids about how it's a 'dad joke'!). Come on: it's funny really!

And yesterday I was talking to a client about how we can use humour and laughter to reduce anxiety and stress. After all, if we are laughing (or even mildly chuckling) it's very hard to be anxious and stressed at the same time. And whether that simply lifts our mood for a while or makes those anxious thoughts seem a bit silly and so we get a change of perspective, making humour part of your coping strategy can really pay beneficial dividends.

Finding humour in things (or in general) can help us get a sense of perspective on our problems and issues as well as physically providing a release for tension and stress. In fact there is even a Coping Humour Scale which seeks to measure and understand how you use humour to handle problems (it asks you to rate on a scale things like: 'I have often found that my problems have been greatly reduced when I try to find something funny in them' and 'It has been my experience that humour is often a very effective way of coping with problems.').

Anxiety Relief with Humour

Knock, knock? 

Who's there?

Boo....

Boo who?

Don't cry; it's only me!! Ha! Ha!

Oh come on! Ok, so put that one in the 'Dad's jokes' box too.  A year or two ago my kids insisted I go through website page after website page of knock, knock jokes and trust me, this was one of the better ones!

So, as I was saying, using laughter and humour can help to reduce anxiety and stress. There's a therapeutic technique that I often use with people to tackle their negative and anxious self-talk. Usually, it is how we run that inner dialogue that affects us more than the actual words and statements we are thinking. It's a bit like if I tell my kids off; if I do it in my stern voice they know I mean business (and remind me how I'm actually meaner that King Herod! Usually a threat I will make them watch a whole rugby match on TV is enough to encourage good behaviour!). Yet if I tell them off saying the same things, but with a smile on my face and trying not to laugh at what they have done, then the impact of those words changes dramatically. 

And it's the same with our own self-talk. Say stuff to yourself in an anxious way and you will find that those anxiety feelings increase; say the same things slowly and calmly and you will probably stay calm. Or you can use something more ridiculous when you know that thoughts are irrational and unnecessary; try thinking those previous anxiety thoughts as though Mickey Mouse is saying them and their impact changes.

Or you can use funny music to dissolve that anxiety. My personal favourite is to put on the 'Mahna Mahna' song by the Muppets and with this playing, try to think about all those old made up stressful and anxious thoughts.

Now everyone's sense of humour can be very different so what works for me may not be the exact thing for you, yet the principle remains the same to reduce psychological and physical stress and anxiety. Nevertheless, I thought I'd share three of my favourite comedy sketches which always bring a smile and chuckle to me when I need my mood lifted - enjoy!

Three Funny Clips To Lift Your Mood

So here are three of my favourite humourous clips and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do to give you a psychological mood lift! I was watching a programme about The Inbetweeners last week that had some absolutely classic moments (who can forget the 'dance across the dance floor' scene or the 'waterslide poo in the face' one); as good as they are they haven't made my top three (that may be because my kids are usually around me when I watch funny videos and those ones are for when they are a LOT older!!).

3. The Two Ronnies - Fork Handles

I love this one - pure comic genius and no matter how many times I watch it, it stays funny and I love all that language miscommunication (click image to watch clip on You Tube). 

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2. Monty Python - Argument Clinic

Again I love this one! Even my kids love it! There's something amusing about going and buying a good argument (there are people out there who really do seem to go out looking for a good argument!). (click image to watch clip on You Tube). 

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1. Abbott & Costello - Who's on First?

I stumbled upon this classic last summer and have watched it a dozen or more times since. I think it's brilliant how they run through the sketch so quickly and cleverly. Again, there's a lot of play on words and confusion - perhaps all that language stuff appeals to me in my job! And as my wife said, it's clever and funny without ever needing to use swearing, shock techniques or insults. And man do they do it at some pace...a classic! (Click on image to watch on You Tube).

tackle anxiety with humour hypnotherapy ely 

How do you like these?  I've just watched them (to find the links...honest!) and I now have a great big smile on my face!

And, whilst not a video, perhaps my favourite one liner joke is from comedian Bob Monkhouse who said, "When I said I was going to become a comedian, they all laughed. Well, they're not laughing now, are they?" Classic!

Now, my humour may not be your cup of tea so I'd love to know which clips and sketches you find the funniest so I can share them with my clients and we can all get a boost from humour and laughter to reduce any anxiety and stress.

To your happiness and laughter,

Dan Regan

Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

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