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Swipe those fears: watching COVID memes may help you cope with pandemic stress


Some people say that laughter is the best medicine.

The American Psychological Association reports new evidence suggesting that scrolling through COVID memes over the past year and a half has helped people cope with pandemic stress.

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara surveyed 748 people online in December 2020 to see if seeing memes (interesting images and text shared on social media) would have an impact. I decided. COVID-19 Their emotions and coping skills surrounding the pandemic.When People reported calming down and feeling more content after seeing the meme, According to a survey published in this week’s Psychology of Popular Media magazine published by APA. This was indirectly related to reducing stress associated with pandemics.

Moreover, even those who turned to memes, especially with captions dealing with COVID-19. more The stress level for the pandemic may be lower than those who saw the meme without COVID-related captions.

Of course, many studies spend a lot of time online “Doomscrolling” and “Doomsurfing” (also known as reading a lot of bad news) and spending a lot of time on social media. I also know that there is. , May cause stress and anxiety and adversely affect mental health..World Health Organization If in doubt, I warned against reading or overlooking the COVID-19 news.

But the new APA survey suggests that reading one or two funny memes enjoying the disastrous news can be a positive way to handle it. ..

“The World Health Organization recommends avoiding COVID-related media too much for mental health, but our research shows that memes on COVID-19 are confident in their ability to cope with pandemics. It can help you get it. ” Lead Author Jessica Goal Milik, Professor of Pennsylvania State University, In APA news release..

In a similar tone, A study published in the journal Scientific Reports last year It turns out that people suffering from depression have found a “depression meme” that refers to death, suicide, isolation, and despair as more interesting and familiar than the more neutral themed memes. Researchers also Depressed subjects were more likely to report sharing these depressive memes. With other people suffering from mental health, I believed that memes would help me feel better.

And in the meantime Recent studies published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One We also found that Doomscrolling for COVID-19 could have a negative impact on mental health. Swiping a “scroll of tenderness” or a story or image about a pandemic tenderness did not have the same negative effect. Therefore, the researchers write that this suggests that “not all social media exposure is detrimental to happiness.”

In short, the gallows humor that has emerged online in the last 18 months or so about social distance, lack of toilet paper, telecommuting struggles, financial distress, and controversial political divisions is just It wasn’t an unconscious distraction. In fact, these memes helped people reduce their sense of isolation and handle news that was sometimes overwhelming.

Dr. Amanda Spray, a clinical psychologist at NYU Langone Health in Manhattan, told MarketWatch earlier. “This frees us from the harshness of the situation and is very helpful.”

“Humor connects us because we find our common humanity in humor. We all feel warmth,” she said in her new book, Happi Nest: Your Child. Judy Holland, a journalist who studied loneliness and anxiety to “find a sense of fulfillment when he leaves home,” agreed. She also talked to MarketWatch about how virus memes became self-care during the pandemic. “We look for it because it gives us a break.”

look back: Get rid of the coronavirus for a few minutes with these soothing videos, memes and threads

Other studies suggest that memes have more than they can see. Italian mathematicians used machine learning techniques and grouping algorithms to analyze the evolution of 2 million memes shared on Reddit for a recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports. And they found that memes became more complex over time.In fact, the report suggests: Memes are becoming a “metalanguage”.

As a result, APA’s research concluded that memes could be coordinated into public service advertising during stressful public events such as pandemics.

“Public health advocates and government agencies may benefit from using memes as a cheap and easily accessible way to communicate with the general public about stressful events, but overly. Cute memes should be avoided, “says Myrick. “Positive emotions associated with this type of content may make people feel psychologically safe and therefore better able to pay more attention to the underlying message associated with health threats. . “





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