How Laughter Affects Mental Health

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By Casey Bloom, Jan 20, 2022.

Have you ever heard that laughter is the best medicine? It’s absolutely true. Laughter eases stressful situations and can improve our overall mental health. But, it’s not always easy to work up a genuine laugh.

I remember the first time my best friend had to take a business trip, which meant leaving her two kids alone with her husband. She had so much anxiety that she called me from the airport to go check on them - and the kids weren’t even out of school yet. Of course, I made a joke that didn’t have the desired effect. After a moment of stony silence, I happily agreed to swing by her house. It gave her peace of mind knowing that somebody was there to check in on the whole family, and she ended up having a wonderful (and wildly successful) trip.

This memory of mine is a message for moms out there because we tend to carry a lot of anxiety about our families when we aren’t around them. Know that it’s okay to arrange for somebody to support your family when you can’t. Anxiety is real, and you deserve that peace of mind while you focus on what you need to do.

As you can see, I completely understand how tough it can be to find humour in life sometimes, especially when your mind is flashing through millions of earth-shattering scenarios. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find joy again. Some people turn to comfort food, but that’s not always the best plan. Of course, there are also natural substances with proven effects on mental health conditions such as anxiety that last longer without adding inches to the waist.

The impact of laughter cannot be underestimated, and I’m here to explain why finding a reason to laugh might be the best thing you can do for yourself. Plus, I’ll give some tips for finding a good chuckle when you need it most.

The Power of Laughter

Did you know that people actually study the effects of laughter on mental health? It’s true. Scientific studies have proven that laughter is therapeutic, especially in stressful situations.

Laughter works wonders for the whole body, but in terms of mental health, it does several things. A good laugh can distract you from something stressful and boost your mood. Laughter also encourages your body to release endorphins, the natural chemicals in your body that make you feel good.

Whether you feel stressed, angry, or sad, laughter can alleviate those emotions and replace them with happier thoughts and feelings. It’s like the perfect way to counteract misery. Plus, finding a laugh doesn’t have to cost a dime!

Finding a Way to Laugh

When you face something stressful, it’s not easy to find humour, like my friend at the airport. My friend needed to have her proverbial ducks in a row to find her way to laughter. That’s kind of how it feels, right? If you can control one thing, you can relinquish enough stress to laugh. So, let’s talk about ways to do that.

Find the sunny side of social media. There are loads of meme accounts and hilarious or adorable videos that people make simply to entertain others. Do you like animals? Pick an account about your favourites and scroll when you need to smile, then chuckle.

  • Listen to or watch a comedy. We live in an age with access to so much content, and that means podcasts, television, and movies.
  • Try goat yoga. Seriously, I challenge you to keep a straight face while doing a downward-facing dog with a goat in your face.
  • Go for a change of scenery. Stressed about work? Freaking out about exams? Great. We’ve all been there. Switch gears by heading to a local coffee shop, meeting a friend for lunch, or hitting up the gym.
  • Phone a friend. Admit it, you have one friend who is always good for a laugh. Even if you dread the idea of talking to somebody, that one person can crack a grin on your moody mug every time.

Stress is a natural part of life, and it is worse at some times than others. There is no shame in asking for help and owning up to your stress or sorrow. More likely than not, your friends and family will happily supply you with whatever you need to level out and reclaim your laughter.