The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South nurse shows laughter as tool for coping with stress

By Jessica Whitman/reporter

Life is a series of changes, and stress is inescapable, said Flo Stanton, a registered nurse and South Campus health services coordinator.

“What stress does not cause, it will aggravate,” she said. “Laughter helps to put things, life, into perspective.”

Stanton spoke earlier this month to students from all campuses and the community on South Campus.

She talked about laughter as a coping mechanism during the third seminar in a series on stress management in collaboration with the Women in New Roles program.

Stanton started her speech by asking the audience what they usually hear about stress.

“Our bodies react to it,” she said. “Perceiving something, whether it is real or not, the body will respond to it.”

Positive or negative changes can be stressful, Stanton said.

Stress can come from positive changes like getting married, graduating from school or making a major purchase, she said. Stress can also come from negative changes like getting divorced, experiencing the death of a loved one or losing a job, Stanton said.

Unmanaged stress has health consequences, Stanton said.

Stress can lead to damage to the immune system, development of insulin resistance, hypertension, coronary artery disease, gastrointestinal problems and may even promote cancer, she said.

Ways to manage stress and keep it under control, Stanton said, include learning coping skills, changing unhealthy habits, improving one’s work environment and finding emotional support. 

Stanton talked about the benefits of laughter and what it does to people.

Laughter is a natural pain reliever because it increases endorphins and a natural tension reducer because it relaxes muscles, she said. Laughter also strengthens the immune system because of the increase in T-cells and natural killer cells, and it braces the spirit and gives people hope, Stanton said.

“I like to see everyone laugh. It makes me feel lighthearted,” she said. “Our lives are better because we laugh.”

Studies show that people laughing always feel better, Stanton said.

“It’s not that we laugh because we’re happy. We’re happy because we laugh,” she said. “My point is to hang around people who laugh and fire the people who do not laugh.”

Sheila Williams, a South Campus student, said she enjoyed listening to Stanton. She had a particular interest in how she needs to incorporate stress management into her own routine.

“Stanton gave me an idea on how to manage stress and not let stress get in my way,” she said. “I plan to use the skills and not let stress take over my life.”

Student Makeda McNeil said she was more concerned with the health risks that come with stress and how laughter can help.

“We need to laugh and find more ways to implement it into our daily routine because laughter can be better physically and emotionally for our body,” she said.

Alisa Smith, another South student, agreed.

“Everyone needs to relax and laugh more because it is a good stress reliever,” she said.

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