Exam stress; being away from home; worrying about the future and scores of other issues can take their toll on your mental health. Academic pressures can weigh heavily on our minds, and almost all students have periods of feeling down, anxious and swept up in things that are beyond our control.
But there is one area where – no matter what happens – you can protect your mental health and find your own angle on what’s going on.
Humour is a powerful way to defend yourself against threats to your mental health. Found in every human society, it is a force for connecting people – something that is fundamental to our humanity and our sense of who we are. Humour embodies our capacity to have agency and freedom in our own minds, even in the worst of circumstances. In terms of mental health, you might say that humour is good simply because it cheers us up.
But the relationship between humour and mental health is much more than this. Charlie Chaplin once said, “to truly laugh, you must take your pain and play with it”. Those of us who have had difficulties with our mental health – who know what it is to touch pain – have a special, precious opportunity. As we play with our pain we have the potential to transform our personal difficulties into a shared experience; to recognise the joy and the absurdity of being alive.
The Self-Defence Through Humour workshop is about unlocking that power. It explores how to use humour to defend yourself against threats to your mental health; and how to harness the mental health difficulties you have faced to truly laugh. Whether you have been going through challenges or your mental health is going just fine, this workshop is designed to help you unleash this critical, universal life-skill.
In this half-day workshop we will think about:
- The funny side of our inner critics
- How to ‘own it’
- Using humour to combat anxiety
- Humour and recovery from mental distress
- Playing with pain to truly laugh