Depression, Happiness, Self-Improvement

It’s a Laughing Matter

Take Laughing Seriously.

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. e. e. cummings

I used to think that a day without chocolate is a day wasted, but I’ve come around to agreeing with e.e. cummings. Consider a day without a genuine smile and laughter. What does that leave us? Sadness, depression, or even complete apathy.

Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something. ~William Goldman in Princess Bride.

Yes, life is full of heartache.

Perhaps you don’t get the job you want. Perhaps relationships crumble. There are numerous failures we all face eventually. In addition, we deal with disagreements/arguments, illness, or death. As we know, sh*t happens.

However…

A good laugh heals a lot of hurts. ~Madeleine L’Engle

No matter what your heartache may be, laughing helps you forget it for a few seconds. ~Red Skelton

It’s true. Laughter can heal. Laughter lifts us up. Just ask the real Patch Adams.

Patch Adams
Patch Adams, played by Robin Williams…and the real Patch Adams

 

The role of a clown and a physician are the same — it’s to elevate the possible and to relieve suffering. ~The Real Patch Adams

 

The Mayo Clinic agrees:

When it comes to relieving stress, more giggles and guffaws are just what the doctor ordered.

Why? Because…

The health benefits of laughter include the reduction of stress hormones and blood pressure, as well as increased blood flow and oxygenation to the cells and organs. Laughing provides a natural workout for a number of muscle groups, can defend against illness, and even increase the response of beneficial tumor and disease-killing cells throughout the body. Laughter has also been shown to increase memory, intelligence, and creativity.

You can read the science behind it HERE.

Laughter is good for us all.

For those who struggle with depression, laughter is of greater importance. Laughter activates the release of serotonin, the same brain chemical affected by the most common types of antidepressants. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stick around for the truly depressed; therefore those who struggle with their mental health need additional types of treatment along with finding more reasons to laugh each day.

The importance of laughter is not a new idea.

In fact, poet and nobleman Lord Byron (born in 1788) proclaimed, “Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”

Lord Byron
Lord Byron

The Dawn of Positive Psychology

In recent decades, positive psychology (the study of happiness) has evolved. As we know, psychology has traditionally focused on dysfunction; however, positive psychology “is a field that examines how ordinary people can become happier and more fulfilled.” Experts, like Dr. Martin Selignman (founder of positive psychology), look into understanding the hows and whys of what goes well in life.

Dr. Martin Seligman
Dr. Martin Seligman

 

If you want to hear directly from him, you can listen to his TEDtalk.

The Gist:

Laugh. It’s good for your mind, body, and soul.

→What makes you laugh? Share with me in the comments!

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