Treating Depression With Laughter

Treating Depression With Laughter
We all know that there are things we can do to make us feel better when we are suffering from depression, and laughing is one of them. Obviously laughing isn’t something you feel like doing when you’re depressed, but it can be done.

There are several reasons that laughing makes you feel good. I’m sure you’ve heard that laughing causes the release of endorphins, relieves stress, and boosts your immune system. When you hear that laughter is great medicine, take it literally. Just think of how good you feel after you've had a good laugh.

So how are you supposed to laugh when it feels like your world is crashing down around you? First and most importantly, do not watch the news or sad movies! Turn off the TV and take yourself to a happy place in your mind. Think back to fun times and funny things that happened. I know you can remember playing a practical joke on someone, or seeing someone who was “dressed up” getting pushed into a pool. Come on, you know you laughed!

One thing that still cracks me up happened when I was in high school. My best friend and I were walking down the stairs from our algebra class when she tripped and fell a few steps (maybe four) down onto the landing. I could see that she wasn’t hurt, so I bit my lip hard to keep from laughing, knowing she’d be angry if I did. I ran down to her and said, “Are you okay?” and she shot me a dirty look and said in a hateful voice, “I just want to know why you ain’t laughing!” I laughed until my face cramped then, and it still makes me laugh to this day! (I know--you had to be there.)

Reminiscing about fun times and funny things you did or witnessed should at least get you smiling, but if you need a little more help, try watching Comedy Central. There is usually a funny movie showing or a comedian doing stand-up. Some of them are hilarious. Even better: “America’s Funniest Home Videos!” And there’s a new show on truTV (they don’t capitalize it) called “It Only Hurts When I Laugh,” which is similar to AFV. It shows home videos of people falling off stages, bumping into things, etc. It’s too funny.

When I’m feeling really down, I have a stash of great comedies, some of which I’ve probably seen a hundred times or more. Granted, they’re never as funny as the first time I saw them, but they still make me laugh and feel good.

If you haven’t seen Steve Carell’s “Dan in Real Life” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” I highly recommend those. Also “Bridget Jones’s Diary” with Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant, and “When Harry Met Sally” with Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, and “The Sweetest Thing,” with Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate, are great funny “chick flicks.” I also love “Two Weeks Notice” with Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant. Another two of my favorites that the guys also like are “The Longest Yard” with Adam Sandler, and “The Replacements” with Keanu Reeves. For other great comedies to watch, ask friends or the people who work in the video stores. They can always give you some good suggestions.

Laughter won’t cure your depression, but it will definitely lift your spirits and put you in a much better mood. It might even help you fight off that cold. You’ll have a smile on your face for hours, so give it a try!

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