United in laughter: how memes can help relieve stress


Sumin Kim

Dispatch Reporter Brianna Lopez writes about her opinion of the use of comedy to relieve stress during the COVID-19 crisis. One main source of comedy that Lopez references is memes, a form of a social media post that uses a combination of pictures and words to produce a comedic effect.

Brianna Lopez, Dispatch Reporter

After students finish up their school work and chores at home, there is not much else to do to keep them busy. In addition to binge-watching movies, tv shows, and videos on YouTube, people have been using memes* to lighten up their day and to pass time while stuck at home. Looking at memes can allow one to forget what is happening outside of their houses and give them a chance to laugh and experience joy. Not only that, but it lets individuals bond over a joke online and feel that there is an entire virtual community that shares their experiences and uncertainties.  

To try and break the tension caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, people have also been inspired to create memes about the changes they have experienced or witnessed before them. From trying to get essential supplies to having video calls with classmates online, the number of topics to make jokes about in this change of lifestyle has been expanding every day.

In addition, psychologists have felt that the use of comedy during this time allows for people to defuse their anxieties and cope when things are not happening as expected. In fact, one article from the Mayo Clinic claims, as cliche as it may sound, that “laughter is the best medicine.”

Although laughter can help relieve stress, some people may disagree with the creation of memes as they claim that it is not a time for jokes. However, there is always time for laughter since it has been seen throughout history that in the heaviest moments, humor can be used to try and relax the brain from any disturbing thoughts that an individual may have.

We should continue to spread positive outlooks and wholesome memes online so that we do not feel separated from one another. Along with that, we can also comment on other’s posts to see how those around us are doing and where their mind is at the moment. Memes can keep the situation at large from consuming one’s headspace, and they can allow an individual to feel comforted by humourous jokes posted online which act as a great outlet for people to express their feelings of uncertainty. The virtual community created by these posts allows us to all feel connected even when we are physically isolated. 

*Meme: A meme is a form of a social media post that is usually intended to produce a comedic or humorous effect. Traditionally, memes are photos overlaid with text that attempt to use puns, relatable scenarios, and visual effects to be comedic.