Stress is certainly one of the most talked about topics in today's world. Google « stress » and you'll get « About 584,000,000 results » . Google « laughter » and you'll get...« About 108,000,000 results ». This fact got me curious. This is by no mean a scientific study, but just a little fun that got me thinking. What do we prefer to focus on ? What are we lead to focus on? Another funny search result: Yahoo!'s search gave me 106,000,000 results on Stress... and 137,000,000 about laughter! Maybe the Yahoo world is a happier world than the Google world!!!

Interestingly enough, I publish the same newsletter in French, so I got a French friend to do the same Google search on a 100% French computer. In French « stress » is the same word and also gives you « Environ 584 000 000 résultats » (all in French?) while « rire », which is both « to laugh » and « laughter » only gets... « Environ 74 500 000 résultats ». Would that mean that French speakers laugh less than English speakers ? That would be worth a study :-)

Another interesting view point is that the definition of laughter is pretty clear and similar whoever you talk to. A doctor might be inclined to tell you more on the effects of laughter on your hormones, heart and immune system, and a stand up comic might tell you more about how laughter is a guarantee to keep a captive audience. But they are talking about the same happy feeling and its physical symptoms.

When you ask a doctor to define « stress » they might also tell you about the effect of what we call stress on our immune system, heart, hormones levels and more. But the stand-up comedian will probably tell you about their own stress when writing their script or before getting on stage or on screen. We all have a different definition of stress.

I liked the definition offered by the Irish Heart Foundation in their “ Stress & Heart Disease” fact sheet : (

Stress can mean different things to different people. Stress is often defined as a mismatch between the demands placed on us and our ability to cope with these demands. The way we cope with these demands will depend on the way we think, our personality and our previous life experiences etc.

Stress is difficult to measure, but we all know what it feels like and how we cope in stressful situations. For some, it can threaten to take over their lives while for others, once they are aware of its causes and effects, stress can add excitement and challenge to their lives. It can be positive when it motivates us to get things done, however, it can be negative when we feel constantly pressurised or traumatised by too many demands.”

So what is your definition or stress, and which do you usually get bak to : laughter or stress?