On Well Being: How Humor Can Help

The background is a photo of a forest with light shining through tall trees and green moss. White and gold text on a navy background reads: On Well-Being: How Humor Can Help. March 2024. The Usher Syndrome Coalition logo is below the text.

Humor has been proven to be a valuable resource in stress management. If this is something you struggle with, don't worry, you're not alone! Fortunately, humor is a skill that can be learned, with practice.

"Humor can be described as a cheerful-relaxed attitude towards life or fundamental basic temperament, which becomes evident in how often a person laughs at different life situations, smiles and is happy.” (Nadja 2016).

Some of the stress and anxiety that comes with a rare disease is due to the way it affects you in a social capacity. Having any degree of dual sensory loss may impede your ability to communicate, connect with others, or navigate your surroundings. Perhaps, there's also a level of social difficulty in participating in humor among peers when you have Usher syndrome (USH). For example, in a classroom environment, it may be challenging to pick up on a joke due to difficulty accessing residual hearing, background noise, speech cadence, and timing.

Parents of children with USH may also find themselves experiencing higher levels of stress, as raising a child with a disability can be emotionally, physically, and financially challenging (Heidi, 2020). People with Usher syndrome and their loved ones could benefit from intentionally including humor and laughter in their lives to help cope, and learn to embrace a more positive mindset. 

It can be easy to become overwhelmed in navigating the complexities of this rare disease, and the relentless work advocating for needs to be met. Try using humor as a coping strategy for informing others about USH. It may be hard- AND- it’s WORTH the work to foster a sense of humor and laugh to reduce stress. Laughter is beneficial for everyone.

Benefits of laughter

A good sense of humor won’t cure Usher syndrome but it can help you manage it. On a physical level, laughter can result in relieving muscle tension, feeling lighter, and can boost your immune system.

Emotionally, humor can help you get out of your head, connect with others and manage anxiety. Using humor as a coping mechanism and emotional regulation tool may help foster a sense of control and resilience. 

On the whole, incorporating a sense of humor can create a more positive self-concept, greater self-awareness, and a more positive attitude toward life. 

How to foster your sense of humor:

  • Try Laughter yoga - Look it up. You won't be disappointed.
  • Engage and seek out humor in life through funny stories, movies, jokes, and funny people.
  • Practice laughing. Reflect on how you feel after. 
  • Make a list of movies, shows, comedians, and comics that make you laugh. Save the list someplace it is easily accessible to you.
  • Laugh about USH mishaps like stumbling over something or mishearing something. 

Humor encourages a positive attitude towards life and the world around you. Learning to embrace a sillier side of life can help you find courage, peace, and joy. Life is full of potential, and you deserve to show up as the best version of yourself. 


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