“Laughter is the best medicine.” This clichéd phrase gets thrown around a lot, but it really is true. Laughter can truly be substituted for an antidepressant and reduce one’s need of medications for emotional support. In fact, experimental studies show that laughter triggers the release of serotonin - the hormone which maintains and stabilizes happiness - and decreases feelings of depression. This scientifically proves the biological importance of laughter. Laughter therapy is a psychological tool utilized for patients that are suffering from long-term depression, memory-loss illnesses and traumatic brain injuries. So, there are actually professionals who support others by making them laugh - kind of like a comedian!
How does this affect us? We often have fast moving lives as we drive to school/work, to our extracurricular activities, then back home for homework and suddenly it’s time to sleep just to repeat the same routine. From simple giggles and daily jokes, laughter goes a long way in improving mental and physical health. As a young girl, my mother nurtured me by cracking jokes, talking in funny voices, and laughing. I grew up hardwired to look on the brighter side of everything and purely laughing my stress off. Whether I was scared for tomorrow’s physics test, nervous before a guitar performance or anxious for a tae kwon-do tournament, I learned how to use my humor in de-stressing myself. Everyday of my life, I looked to creating opportunities to laugh - watching lighthearted Youtube videos, sharing funny stories with my friends and family or laughing at my own accidental foolish actions. We’re so busy to the extent where we neglect the simple joys and cheerful moments of life. After realizing how much improvement I noticed in my overall well-being through regularly laughing and smiling, I became inspired to share my newfound perspective on the world with others.
While volunteering at my local hospital, I would notice the frequent tears of visitors praying for their loved ones to recover or the dull eyes of the patients as I walk in their rooms to give them crossword puzzles. Their medications may provide the necessary chemicals to fight their bacterial illnesses, but the isolation patients feel as they’re stuck in the same four walls for several days remain cureless. To combat this, I spread the power of humor. Sharing failed baking stories with Ms. Smith causes a smile to appear on her face, while 6-year old Isak giggles at my Mickey Mouse impression. I always love witnessing patients’ joy and laughter after watching their gloomy expressions.
I’ve truly embraced the value of laughter not only by using it as an antidote for my own stress, but also sharing laughter with others. For those who are struggling with problems, no matter big or small, make time for laughter in your daily lives. While some moments in life are not meant for laughter, take advantage of the moments where you can laugh, and always make the choice to laugh when given the chance to. Laugh at yourself. Try to laugh at sticky situations instead of being stressed by them. Don’t dwell on the negativity of certain memories, and instead remember the enjoyable ones. In the world, I hope the only thing people catch from others is laughter. After all, laughter is contagious.
Now, I have a challenge for you: don’t go two-three days without laughing. Then, observe the positive affect on your health.