How Humor and Laughter Are Good For Mental Health

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How Humor and Laughter Are Good For Mental Health

Laughter can do a lot of things to one's mental health such as stopping stressful emotions / Photo by Getty Images

 

They say that laughter is the best medicine. While you cannot laugh all the pain away, it can still help keep you mentally healthy. Sharing a good laugh is so much fun but are you aware that this can also improve one's health? Laughter can trigger various physical and emotional changes in the body.

 

Humor study

Bigthink.com describes a study wherein 55 individuals took part. All subjects are recovering from major depression. The study aimed to find out if humor can work as an effective coping mechanism against stress. Based on the research’s results, humor indeed works as a dominant defense against depression. 

Anna Braniecka explained why they conducted their study. "The use of adaptive emotion regulation strategies in people at risk of depression should boost their resilience against depressogenic experiences; however, there is still not enough scientific knowledge to determine which strategies are particularly beneficial in this respect. We decided to fill this gap by investigating one of the most promising, and at the same time the least studied strategy—humor," she said.

The study authors examined 55 patients who have been depressed but are diagnosed as healthy during the time of the study. They showed the sample population scenes such, as war, sick people, and other images that elicit an adverse reaction. They were then asked to rate their response. After that, the participants were shown more images but they were asked to respond in one of three ways: describe the scene naturally, turn it positively, or make a joke out of it. 

Humor helps you keep a positive outlook even through difficult situations / Photo by Getty Images

 

The study population felt better when they had changed and looked at the images in a positive light or through humor. The participants were asked to describe how they think about reframing the image. Usually, depressed people find it difficult to distance themselves from the negative image because they tend to involve themselves too much. However, researchers found that positive reframing and humor can help prevent relapse into depression. 

While it was reported that humor was harder than with positivity, the results showed that these methods can defeat stress. This means that humor is important in one's mental health and in fighting depression. 

 

Benefits of humor and laughter to the body

Having a good sense of humor may not cure all illnesses but there are many positive benefits. There are changes to the body that happen every time you laugh:

-Your body takes in more oxygen, and it can stimulate the heart, lungs, and muscles. The functions of blood vessels are improved, and blood flow increases. This can prevent you from having a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. 

-A good laugh can relieve tension and stress that can help your muscles become relax for up to 45 minutes. 

-The stress hormones are decreased, and the immune system is boosted when you laugh. Negative thoughts can affect the body and bring more stress that can reduce immunity. Positive thoughts can release neuropeptides that fight stress and other illnesses.

-Laughter can help trigger the release of endorphins that can relieve pain.

-Laughter improves your mood and lessens depression and anxiety, thus, making you feel happier. 

 

Laughter and mental health

Laughter can make you feel good even after the laughter has subsided. Humor helps you keep a positive outlook even through difficult situations. Also if you are faced with the most difficult challenges that you can imagine, laughter and fun can help you make it through.

Laughter can do a lot of things to one's mental health, such as stopping stressful emotions. Anxiety, anger, and sadness can decrease when you are laughing. Stress reduction, increased energy, more focus, and accomplishments are also the bother benefits of laughter and humor. 

When you see the humor in things, you can see situations from a less-menacing perspective. This will prevent you from making you feel overwhelmed by the situation and can help diffuse dispute.

How to improve your sense of humor

Do you feel that you are not funny or humorous enough? Humor can be learned and it is not so hard at all. One tip that can help develop your sense of humor is to learn to laugh at yourself. You can laugh at your mistakes and bloopers. We all do stupid things at one point and instead of feeling humiliated about it, how about laughing at them?

Share your embarrassing moments and take yourself less seriously.  Once you have learned to laugh at yourself, you can see your stress start to fade away. 

Look for the humor in a stressful situation. When something wrong happens, try to turn it into a funny thing. However, do not forget to be sensitive. It will depend on the situation. Some forms of humor are better not laughed at. 

Remember funny stories and situations so that you can tell it to others. 

Surround yourself with happy people and those who can make you laugh. Laughter is contagious, and it can lift your mood and you can be more delighted. 

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