Sorry Gwyneth, the coronavirus is here to stay (and jokes about him and your mask too). But is it good for our health that we laugh (so much) at a virus?

This is the story of a coronavirus that, regardless of the redundancy, has a Twitter account as viral as himself. The secret of how the coronavirus has managed to spread the population so quickly, who was the patient zero or if he jumped from the pangolins to humans is in the hands of scientists. But while the researchers do their work, the rest of the world's population has given themselves to what is best given: search for information in dr. Google (coronavirus searches have increased by 760% in Spain), accumulate masks which Gwyneth Paltrow (its demand in our pharmacies has increased by 8,000%), cancel trips (or travel with the appropriate mask) … and use humor to face the virus with jokes.

The coronavirus You already have your own cumbia (and government songs like this one from the Vietnamese government that has become the soundtrack of a Tik Tok challenge), carnival costumes, memes and enemies like the flu virus that trolls your Twitter account. But how does humor help us (more or less black, more or less successful) in the face of a health alert that has already affected 95,000 people in 81 countries.

“Laughing at us, about what happens to us, and trying to lower the level of tension or fear with a little laugh is healthy, and Spanish ingenuity is very fast in this. But you also have to remember that not everything goes. You have to use certain humor to make this ethical, because humor also has its ethics, "explains the psychologist Begoña Carbelo Baquero Professor of Health Sciences at the San Rafael-Nebrija University and author of a thesis and a book in which he studies humor.

The reality is that humor is not going to protect us from an infection, but It helps us to frivolize and digest the facts that we perceive as dangerous and about which we can do little or nothing. For that same reason in the Nazi camps the Jews made jokes about their jailers and the number that satirical Onion published after the attack on the Twin Towers was a success. Laughing at the tragedy makes it smaller and more manageable.

Two tourists in Milan with their respective masks for fear of the coronavirus. If you are going to make jokes about your outfit, remember how they are doing in Italy before launching on Twitter.

Tone and time matter

That we are wanting to relativize things does not prevent criticism from rising if the times and content of what we say when joking about a topic are not handled well. The Morancos could verify it after making jokes about the coronavirus and the Chinese population in the El Hormiguero program and receive a barrage of criticism via Twitter. Because what Mark Twain said is still valid: "humor equals tragedy longer". And that time window is also studied.

“The joke is not always appropriate from a health point of view. The therapeutic humor is one that makes us all laugh. If we are talking about health problems and people who may be having a bad time, humor has to be shared to fulfill their therapeutic function, shouldn't be hurtful, you have to side with the one who suffers and is living that situation. Forges knew how to do this very well, he told many things about everyday reality with humor, but he always sided with the weak and that social humor is much better and funnier that some of the jokes and stripes that you can see right now on Twitter, ”says psychologist Begoña Carbelo Baquero.

A study of the University of Texas He checked that both empathy and time influence how a joke is perceived. In case you doubt it, jokes about something bad that happened just 15 days ago are not funny. Specifically, this study group analyzed the tweets that occurred after Hurricane Sandy. Prior to 15 days humor it was unacceptable to 36 days jokes They were well received and after 100 days I stopped having grace again. And what were the best accepted jokes? Those who turned something horrible into something stupid. "Humor, when it has this dye, helps you to dissociate the situation, it helps us to think" it is not so important ", although it is," says Begoña Carbelo.

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Humor and its benefits for our mental health is one of the axes of the psychological research of the last 30 years. The psychology professor of the Tel Aviv University Avner Ziv describes in his book Personality and sense of humor that laughing at a threat like the coronavirus is one of the ways that society has to control impulses that might otherwise become a potential threat (in this case the fear of contagion could cause trouble), defends us from anxiety and allows us to recover the feeling of having things under control. And on a personal level, humor has shown benefits in increasing defenses and as a system to regulate stress.

In conclusion, if the coronavirus worries youThe best thing you can do is wash your hands often, cough and sneeze into the popliteal hollow (yes, that's what the front area of ​​your elbow is called), pay attention to the health advice of dr. Google only if they come from verified health accounts, ignore whatsapp bulos … and laugh at the coronavirus all you can, but with respect, please.

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