Many of you have probably heard about the benefits of laughter as it pertains to mental health. It’s been proven that laughing lifts your mood by releasing feel-good endorphins, relaxing muscles, decreasing stress hormones, etc. The problem is that when you are suffering from depression, there is often not much to laugh about. When you are feeling sad, angry, irritable or just low, you don’t usually find things funny. In fact, humor may tend to annoy you more than it will make you laugh. So how then, do you get the benefits of laughter?
Like all of our depression hacks, you have to make an effort to aid your own healing. If you truly want to help yourself feel better when you are depressed, consciously try to learn how to laugh more, practice and repeat.
The key is to make yourself open to laughter. Sometimes you have to consciously decide to do this. Smiling helps. Thinking about something you have laughed at in the past can help as well. I will never forget the time my English mother was trying to read signs that were mostly in French. She pronounced one “Ayy-oooo-tow Sales.” We all laughed until we cried when we realized the sign said “Auto Sales” in plain English. Thinking of that cracks me up every time. Surely you can recall something that made you laugh and draw on that for help.
Here are a few more tips:
- Don’t take yourself so seriously. You will have the most opportunity to laugh at yourself. We all do silly, stupid, crazy things all of the time. Find humor in your missteps. Next time you walk out of the house and realize you have on two different colored shoes, laugh. When you accidentally spill the milk down your shirt, laugh. If you embarrass yourself (which we all do at some point), don’t be mortified, just laughit off. Make it a point to find humor in yourself.
- Try to observe others with a light heart. Don’t be rude, but know that it is ok to laugh at others. If someone walks by wearing the most ridiculous hat/shirt/dress/hairstyle (wait until they are out of earshot) and go ahead and laugh. It’s not mean-spirited as long as you are not ridiculing anyone. If you find someone funny, laugh.
- Purposely look for things to laugh at. Read the comics taped up on the cubicle next to yours or on the bulletin board at the doctor’s office. Honk at the dancing sign-spinner on the side of the road. Read signs, billboards and bumper stickers when you are driving. They are often quite humorous. A favorite sign outside the TexMex restaurant near my home reads; “Free Margaritas Yesterday.” Keep an eye out for humor and
We’d love to hear some of your tips. Once you learn to laugh more, it will come easily. For more in-depth information on the subject, check out this link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/199607/happily-ever-laughter