Using Humour to Manage Stress

David Granirer, Counselor, discusses using humour to manage stress.

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David Granirer, Counselor, discusses using humour to manage stress.
Video transcript

Featuring David Granirer, Counselor

Video Title: Using Humour to Manage Stress Duration: 2 minutes, 5 seconds

The amount of stress we’re under goes up in proportion to the lack of control we feel.

So the less control we experience in our lives, the more we feel stressed. There was a paper written on a group of 566 U.S. Naval aviators who spent seven or eight years in North Vietnamese prisoner of war camps during which time they were beaten, starved; they had no control over their lives.

Now, normally, in a group like this, you find a post traumatic stress disorder rate of between 50 and 90 percent, but in this group, the researchers found a post traumatic stress disorder rate what you’d find in the general public, about 3 to 5 percent. What they concluded was this group made a conscious decision together to use humor as a way of fighting back and as a way of trying to maintain their sense of control during this time.

There are examples in this paper where they would literally risk their lives to tell someone a joke because they felt this person needed the morale boosting. So there seems to be something about humor, and if you want to translate it into the workplace where, when we feel like we have no control, when we’re able to joke with our colleagues and laugh, it seems to restore a sense of control that helps buffer us against the effects of the stress that we’re feeling.

When we’re under a lot of stress at work, and when there’s that lack of control, that feeling of lack of control, people can make decisions both on an individual basis and on a collective basis to use humor. That can involve even things like bringing in funny glasses to work, Groucho Marx glasses, rubber chickens, things like that. They’re corny, but people laugh at them. Making a collective and individual decisions will help people get through those stressful times.

Now, if they want more suggestions, they might want to go to their HR people. They might want to go to professionals like psychologists, workplace psychologists, employee assistance programs, people like that for some suggestions on how to make that happen.

Presenter: Mr. David Granirer, Counselor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Counselor

Video Quiz ( 18 participated.)

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


Humor is a great way to help manage stress in a relationship and at the work place.


A person can often feel stress as a result of having little control over things in their lives. 


Telling jokes in stressful situations can often restore a sense of control.

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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