It is believed that laughter can heal the mind. Bringing humor to the table always feels good as it could help to distract us from problems and promote a lighter perspective. Being humorous has positive effects on overall health as it can be a coping mechanism to relieve the burden of stressful emotions. There's a reason why whenever we're occupied with stress from work, school, or any situation, we tend to seek some sort of entertainment to keep the mood alive.
However, it's quite common for people to make jokes out of their traumatic experiences. This kind of humor is often known as dark humor. According to Wikipedia, dark humor is a comic style that makes light of subject matter that is generally considered taboo, particularly subjects that are normally considered serious or painful to discuss. But how come people are using dark humor by making jokes about their trauma as their coping mechanism?
New studies from the Stanford Psychophysiology Laboratory demonstrated that, in the face of a stressful situation, comedy is a more effective coping strategy than solemnity. These findings support the idea that humor employs psychological effects through a change of perspective. While positive humor gives real reappraisal, negative humor works by distancing the subject from the upsetting picture without creating a new mental scenario instead. A study from 2015 also examined the relationship between humor and psychological trauma and the researchers found that using humor is associated with fewer trauma symptoms.
Joking about stressful events that happen to be traumatizing can help someone to make it less threatening in their mind. The idea of dark humor is built by cognitive reappraisal which is a psychological process where someone reassesses stressful situations to change their emotional response. Making a joke out of trauma also helps someone to be more resilient. As stated by Nicholas A. Kuiper from Europe's Journal of Psychology, humor-especially dark humor-can have a facilitative role in extremely traumatic situations and can be an adaptive trait for us to survive.
Additionally, sharing traumatic experiences with people around us can bring out a certain darker side of us and it is somehow best conveyed in humor rather than repressed tolerance and rage. It is safe to say that using dark humor as a coping mechanism to overcome trauma is more than okay as it is also shown to help reduce aggression and resist negative feelings. Another positive impact of using humor as a coping mechanism also includes communication improvement, anxiety reduction, tension relief, and fast recovery from trauma.
To put it into conclusion, humor can be a good way to cope with stressful events and traumatic experiences that one encountered. Putting aside the terror and finding a way to manage emotional stress with jokes can be a good way to overcome trauma. However, not all humor is beneficial as sometimes it could be inappropriate for individuals who are not finished dealing with their trauma yet. Therefore, reassuring yourself to convey a joke with the intention to make someone feel better is necessary. Once someone dealt with their trauma, all kinds of humor are supposed to be fun and enjoyable.