Combatting Depression with Laughter
Studies have shown that laughter can powerfully affect physical and emotional health. It produces serotonin, which many scientists believe maintains mood balance, and creates additional endorphins, which act as both an analgesic and a sedative. In addition to serving as an effective distraction from anxiety, sadness and anger, laughter can provide psychological distance, temporarily taking a person’s focus off of his or her problems.
Laughter helps individuals relax, reduces stress and allows them to be more compassionate and open to asking others for help and support. Try to find the humor in difficult situations, appreciate the ironies and often illogical nature of life, and recall funny memories. Spend time with people who laugh easily.
Other ways to increase humor in your life include:
- Reading a funny book, such as F in Exams: The Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers by Richard Benson.
- Watching comedy videos on YouTube like Vine compilations.
- Enjoying humorous movies and television series, for instance “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
- Watching stand-up comedy, including performances by teenage and young adult comics like Cameron Elmore, or going to a comedy club.
- Bringing humor into your daily conversations by asking people, “What is the funniest thing that happened to you this week?”
- Watching and listening to comedy on the Internet and radio, such as the TED Talk, “I got 99 problems … palsy is just one” by Maysoon Zayid.
- Reading the comics or finding some on social media, including Gemma Correll’s cartoons about living with anxiety and depression, which have been featured by Mental Health America as shown above.
- Smiling more often, which can improve your mood, releases endorphins and serotonin, and often is contagious with others.
- Surrounding yourself with things that make you happy, for example, putting copies of favorite Memes, humorous magnets and/or pictures of you and your friends and family having fun in your locker and your room at home.
- Counting your blessings and remembering all of the good things in your life.
Laughter can connect you to others, increase your resilience and even bring positive change to your life. Perhaps as Relatable Post #1392 says, “Whenever…[you] get sad,…just imagine a T-Rex trying to pick up a basketball.”