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humour & coping with Trump

Reading this recent article got me thinking about how important humour can be as a coping response. We do live in extraordinary political, cultural and social times. You'd be excused for thinking at times, that, the apocalypse is nigh. You may not be as catastrophic a thinker as this, but many of us at the least will be experiencing a degree of anxiety about President Trump and other world events.

I think the Brits do black humour better than most. I love satire, and in recent times have often found myself reading The Daily Mash or Private Eye as a first port of call, as I have tried to come to terms with e.g. global terrorism, Brexit, Trump, and the other grim day-to-day headlines to be found in most national newspapers or news sites. The US based Saturday Night Live is another good example, and it's great that such outlets are going from strength to strength. SNL are not short of material, and that's not set to change over the next four years. It harks back to the golden era of Spitting Image.

Humour deflects. It helps us cope, and even provides a measure of support, as we seek and find other like minded individuals to connect and share similar viewpoints and opinions with. I've seen this in many situations in my career, as a means of helping groups of people deal with stressful situations. I recall, for example, working in the wards of various psychiatric hospitals, where staff were having to deal with unbelievable levels of distress. Black humour was rife. This wasn't cruel - it was necessary.

How you choose to mobilise emotion in the face of stress or provocation is an individual choice. Some choose to bite, to get angry, to fight fire with fire. Others may be passive, and can even become resigned or despondent. Each of these might be necessary, depending on the person or the circumstances. Personally, I'll be choosing laughter. The power that a man such as Trump has may be frightening, but focusing on his ridiculousness somehow makes everything seem easier.

Yours in psychology,


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