For a good number of years, mental health was a taboo subject and even in some cases, largely ignored until a mental breakdown or a psychotic break happened. Perhaps what was difficult for many to understand was the fact that a majority of sufferers simply went on with life as usual, putting on a brave face for the world.
Lately though, the skyrocketing suicide rates have placed an emphasis on dealing with mental issues before they turn into a series of self-harm events, or even death. And here is where humor comes in. As a natural anti-depressant, humor can help people with mental health issues. But how?
- Combat fear
Humor has this ability to defuse tension and put people at ease. Depression and anxiety can cause someone to be fearful of everything, even of life. Humor helps the person involved to relax and this is the first step towards getting the sufferer to open up by helping change the perspective on things.
Take a good look at some of the funniest people you know and you will discover that a good number of them endured torrid times in their lives. A laugh, no matter how small, is just enough to remind everyone that they will get through whatever situation they are facing in life.
- It relaxes
In some cases, depression and anxiety are as a result of experiencing life through the pressures of pushing one self to be the best they can be. It’s like a high-performance car. Even though it is built for it, they are more likely to develop mechanical issues than a normal car. Humor helps to tone down the pressures that one is experiencing, and induces relaxation. This helps reduce wear and tear.
- Humor reduces pain
Humor has this uncanny ability to take something that is quite painful, and simply melts it and scatter into the wind. Whenever someone is going through a difficult period, humor is the exact thing they need to help reduce the burden that they are feeling.
- Boosts the immune system
This was actually studied by the Loma Linda University in California. Two hormones that are known to help in the fight against depression are increased in the body when someone is experiencing a humorous situation. The increase was between 27 to 87 percent of normal levels.
- Reduces stress
This was also a part of the study by Loma Linda University. Humor helped to reduce the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, and adrenaline. Whenever you are feeling down, that favorite sitcom or standup comedian could be all the help you need.
- Spreads Happiness
Have you ever wondered why there are laughter clubs all over the world? Have you ever wondered why it is that comedians are considered to be a treasure? These are the conduits through which many get to experience joy and happiness when things are not going right in their lives.
- Cultivates optimism
Humor is known to help change the perspectives of people experiencing unhappiness in their lives. Humor is great at helping people come to a point where they look forward to what is coming in the future, and have hope that it will help remove them from the current situations they are facing.