Study shows memes can help you cope with COVID-19 stress

Coronavirus

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Funny memes can help you cope with stress from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association

Researchers found that memes helped people feel calm and content during uncertain times.

“As the pandemic kept dragging on, it became more and more interesting to me how people were using social media and memes in particular, as a way to think about the pandemic,” said lead author Jessica Gall Myrick, PhD, a professor at Pennsylvania State University. “We found that viewing just three memes can help people cope with the stress of living during a global pandemic.”

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748 people were surveyed online in December 2020 to determine whether viewing memes would influence their positive emotions, anxiety, information processing and coping surrounding COVID-19.

The researchers found that people who viewed memes compared with other types of media reported higher levels of humor and more positive emotions, which was indirectly related to a decrease in stress about the COVID-19 pandemic. People who viewed memes with captions related to COVID-19 were even more likely to have lower stress levels about the pandemic than people who viewed memes without COVID-related captions.

These findings suggest that social media content about stressful public events can help people process the news without getting overwhelmed by it, Myrick says.

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