Study: When News Is Heated on Social Media, Comedy Cools the Mood

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Everyone loves a good joke and ladies especially love a man with a sense of humor. In this Trump era, there isn’t much to laugh about but Pamela B. Rutledge, Ph.D., M.B.A., Director of the Media Psychology Research Center and a professor of media psychology at Fielding Graduate University, believes that humor is the best way to “defuse anxiety and increase our ability to reason,” especially on social media.

People have had their accounts suspended, lost their jobs and gotten arrested for inflaming comments made on Twitter. Those who have taken the darkness and turned it into light through humor have found a way of “distancing and reframing” conversations in order to receive an opposing viewpoint rationally.

“The political jokes, memes, videos and parodies across Twitter are positive because they can make us laugh, take pause, step back and share, increasing our sense of social connection.  These tweets and posts defuse anxiety and can make us more open-minded and more able to hear another side,” wrote Rutledge in Psychology Today. “Generating laughter (or even a smile) changes our body chemicals and improves our optimism and resilience, making us better able to withstand anxiety and fear (Rossouw, 2013).  It also makes us better able to evaluate real danger from “arm-waving.”

Rutledge also suggests that people step away from social media because too much negativity impacts one on a variety of levels. “You are what you eat.  All that negativity without reason can impact your productivity at work and your social life.  You can watch a few YouTube videos that make you laugh as an antidote to reset your body chemicals and then get back to work.”