In these times when families live withdrawn into their homes, fathers around the world are making headlines on social networks or video sharing platforms. Enough to provide an antidote to the anxiety generated by the Covid-19 epidemic.
In their forties, some have proven their percussion skills with kitchen cupboards, in reference to the famous drums solo by Phil Collins, others have gone around their home looking desperately for something to repair , others have pretends to break the confinement rules to go for a coffee at the counter . We could see fathers operating plush toys or learning family choreography .
While more serious reactions can be expected from parents in a world in crisis, it must be recognized that humor, laughter and cheerfulness build resilience and can help find strategies to manage and reduce stress.
By cultivating a happy state of mind, we acquire an important resource to create links and gain mastery in the face of these events that we cannot, by definition, control. Not all games or jokes end in laughter, but it helps maintain a disposition for optimism . As Doctor Madan Kataria, initiator of laughter yoga , says , “laughter does not necessarily solve a problem but it helps to play it down.”
Fathers in role models
Regardless of the country they come from, Internet users laugh in the same language when they watch videos on TikTok.
Learning to laugh at yourself is one way to develop personal resilience, and it may be what children really realize when they watch their parents.
By maintaining such an attitude in the face of stressful situations or hostile environments, one makes humor a means of progressing oneself, which is accompanied by positive signs of well-being.
If we can laugh at the Covid-19 by making jokes on toilet paper or distance education , it helps us to feel the difficulty of the situation less and gives us the impression of better controlling it.
Some much needed comic relief through these dark times. This man in Italy insists on going out to get coffee. Watch the video to see where he goes ???? pic.twitter.com/4qV6pGJUgn
— Growing Up Italian (@GrowingUpItalia) March 21, 2020
By using humor, laughter and play, parents show children that there are other ways to respond to conflicts and crises. This gives another perspective on life’s difficulties, and this kind of behavior, when initiated by adults, can be particularly effective in alleviating anxiety.
Parents who dance in their living room, have fun, or even play idiots, help us feel better. When we laugh or smile, our outlook becomes positive and negativity – whether it takes the form of fear, depression or anxiety – no longer takes hold.
With fathers spending more time at home, the lines between work and family life become blurred, sparking new jokes . Many families have taken up the challenge of learning a short choreography on a 2019 song from The Weeknd.
Familiar figures, like that of the TV host Jimmy Fallon , appear on the screen in their role as father, which highlights the humor and the feelings of discrepancy that can accompany telework.
If social distancing measures are to be applied outside the home, isolation can also manifest itself within it, each member of the family focusing all his attention on his screen, which can feed fears and personal anxieties .
In a context of family confinement, how can we protect our children from general anxiety in the face of the risks of infection and death? Laughing as a family strengthens the bonds and helps us to feel that we belong to the same team.
While stress brings us closer by releasing oxytocin in our brain, laughter brings instant relief to feelings of anxiety by triggering the release of neurotransmitters of well-being: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins.
Laughter not only lighten your mental load – it induces a range of physiological benefits, psychological, social, spiritual, and benefits in terms of quality of life for heart health , blood pressure (which was found at residents of retirement homes ), and pain tolerance . Laughter has an effect similar to that of meditation on the brain, by setting our mind in a happy present.
The increasing dissemination of these entertaining content in which fathers play the main characters shows that families put stressful situations into perspective. The more we train our humor, like a muscle, the more we strengthen the neural pathways of optimism. In the future, we will therefore have an enhanced range of resources to respond to difficulties with more lightness.
Author Bio: Ros Ben-Moshe is an Adjunct lecturer School of Public Health and Psychology at La Trobe University