Humor is one of the mature ego defense mechanisms.
Mature ego defense mechanisms are commonly found among emotionally healthy adults. They are conscious processes, adapted through the years in order to optimize success in human society. Other mature ego defense mechanisms are sublimation, anticipation, suppression, and altruism.
Humor is the ability to see the funny, or ironic aspects of stressful situations.
People using this defense mechanism are lightheartedly expressing negative feelings, to shift the focus away from the distress.
People using this defense mechanism frequently use jokes to switch the focus from uncomfortable feelings to funny/ironic aspects of stressful situations.
Example: A nervous athlete jokes about the upcoming tournament.
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