Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Significance of Comedy and Laughter in Depression

Here is another alternative to antidepressant drugs in light and mild depression, - comedy and laughter. Can it be that easy?

Well, judge for yourself. An average child laughs about 300 times a day, and adult - only 17. Someone said that we grow old because we stop laughing.

When we laugh, there is a surge of serotonin (happy chemical) release into our brain. There are at least four hormones related to stress, reduced by laughter - adrenaline, dopamine, cortisol and growth hormone.

Laughter has been used as medicine for long time but not professionally, not as depression help. In the 1970's the articles about medicinal qualities of laughter appeared in medical journal, and the research started.

Nowadays they often show comedies in cancer wards and to people with grave injuries. Apparently, laughter can reduce physical pain greatly, which to me feels nothing short of miraculous.

Laughter also produces exercise for our heart and fills our body with oxygen. If you experience anxiety problems, there is no better and cheaper alternative to relieve the constant tension in your body, than few hours of comedy.

But now there are laughter groups you can join, there is even laughter yoga (hey, you kill two birds in one go - have depression therapy which combines laughter and exercise. What can be better?)

It's important that you also participate in events or activities which include laughter. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh, watch sitcoms, go to comedy clubs, or just simply smile - even this reduces your stress and strengthens your immune system.

A lot of people in depression have black sense of humour. Don't be afraid to use it! I read about a girl who laughed when she was feeling suicidal, called suicide prevention line, and it was engaged!

In a way, laughter works like a lot of other alternative medicines, for example like singing or art therapy. It releases pent-up emotions, diminish our fears, grief and anger and make us to re-evaluate what's happening around us.

If I were you chaps, I would start laughing right about now to test my observation. Go grab yourself few old well-loved comedies and start a routine of at least few minutes of laughter a day.

And please, share! Tell us about your experiences, spread the word.

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