Millions of people around the world have bouts of depression. For some, their depression is Seasonal Affective Disorder whereby they are affected only during the fall and winter months. Others have symptoms of depression on a regular basis and are seeking healing through traditional medicine and counseling. Some choose non-conventional means such as herbal remedies. You may be surprised that you can even laugh your blues away, or at least use laughter as a form of treatment for depression.
There is an old saying that “Laughter is the best medicine.” That concept has been researched for years and there have been reports which explain how laughter – 15 minutes of real, hard belly laughs – can be as good for you as working out for 20 minutes.
Some people who suffer from mild depression may want to include some activities in their day which will produce laughter as a means to reduce their depression. Why laughter? There are many reasons.
Many mental health practitioners believe laughter to be a great stress reliever. Research also shows that it increases endorphins, chemicals in the brain which control the reward system. This means you begin to feel good or feel pleasure when you laugh, similar to the effect you get when using drugs.
Laughter can also lower the hormone levels which may cause stress or a weakened immune state. It moves your body, both internally and externally, increases blood flow, and gives you an energy boost. Your lungs, liver, pancreas, intestines, heart, and brain are all beneficially affected by it. All-in-all, you simply feel better when you laugh and for some time afterwards.
Here are some of the physical ways your body is affected by a good belly laugh:
- It relaxes your muscles for as much as 45 minutes after a good laugh
- It boosts immunity which may reduce your chances of getting sick
- It lowers your stress hormones which makes it easier to relax
- It decreases pain which may enable people to sleep or rest
- It helps prevent heart disease by increasing blood circulation
- It improves your mood which is a benefit to those suffering from mild depression
Laughter can also improve the social aspect of our life. If we laugh easily, people are more likely to want to be around us because we’re fun. Being able to laugh freely may also strengthen our relationships, help diffuse conflict, and enhance our ability to work in a team.
Laughter is something most children enjoy without reserve. Unfortunately, as we get older that tendency to find humor in daily situations wanes and we begin to feel stress. Maybe it’s time to laugh your blues away as a means to reduce symptoms of depression. Since laughter is seen as medicine, is anyone up for a comedy movie?