Why Is Comedy So Effective in Improving Mental Health in Recovery?

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Whether you’re a comedian or you love watching stand-up specials, laughing about life difficulties can raise the mood. Many recommend watching something funny when you are feeling down. Here’s why laughing out loud lifts your mood and how it can help with long-term recovery.

What Laughing Does to the Brain

The brain releases pleasure chemicals like serotonin and endorphins when a person laughs. As a result, laughter can improve your mood. If you feel down, laughter can uplift mood by cooling down anger and reducing low moods like depression.

Physical Benefits of Laughter

You might be surprised to find that comedy can offer physical health benefits too. Laughing can improve the health of your heart by reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. When you laugh, your whole body relaxes. This allows for better blood flow and releases tension in your entire body.

Joking About the Hard Times

Many people use laughter to help them through difficult life experiences. Whether they are using comedy as a tool to lift their spirits when life throws curveballs or as a way to laugh off a tricky situation, allowing space to laugh can help things feel more manageable. Sometimes people joke as a way to cope with loss.

Joking about difficult experiences can be a helpful way to cope with a bad situation. Be careful when doing this, as joking at the wrong time might hurt others. It’s important to read the room to avoid accidentally hurting someone who might not be in the headspace for comedy. There are times when laughter is needed, and there are times when it’s better to be serious.

A Form of Stress Relief

Laughter can be a huge source of relief when things feel overwhelming. When you laugh, your body does a few things. First, laughing can increase the oxygen flow in your body. When you’re laughing, you’re filling your lungs more than you usually do. Laughing can also relieve tension in your body which is particularly useful if you are angry or feel like something is too much.

A Temporary but Useful Distraction

When life is difficult, and there isn’t much you can do to solve the problems that might be causing stress and anguish; it can help to have something to take your mind off of things. Watching a comedy on your favorite streaming service, listening to a funny podcast, or looking at funny memes on social media can give you something to focus on for the time being. This provides you with a much-needed break, allowing yourself room to relax.

Laughter Can Help You Feel More Connected

Comedy can bring people together, especially during difficult times. If you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, reminiscing on hilarious memories can help you cope. Sharing jokes with friends and families can help spread the joyous feeling comedy can bring. When we reach out and share this positive feeling, we can feel closer to those around us.

Ways to Laugh

There are plenty of ways to engage in comedy when you are feeling down or experiencing a difficult day. Even if you don’t think you’re funny, or you might feel disconnected about the type of humor you enjoy, don’t be afraid to branch out and explore different ways to bring comedy into your life.

#1. Watch a comedy special. If you have a favorite comedian, watch a comedy special on your favorite streaming service. If you don’t have a favorite comedian, take the initiative to learn about yourself by discovering your brand of humor.

#2. Play with children. Youngsters have a unique sense of humor. If you have children, including pets, or have younger nieces and nephews, spend time with them. Embrace your inner child. Letting loose and having fun can be a huge stress relief.

#3. Follow more comedic pages and accounts. Mental healthcare professionals often warn of the dangers of “doom-scrolling.” This activity became a buzzword in 2020 and 2021 during the pandemic when only negative news filled social media feeds. If you spend a lot of time on social media, consider following more lighthearted accounts to split up the negativity.

#4. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Even though it is fundamental to take life seriously, it is possible to take it too seriously. Not allowing room for laughter in your life can become detrimental. This includes laughing at yourself from time to time. It can be therapeutic and refreshing to make a joke at your expense or as a way of forgiving yourself for past mistakes. Laughing off fumbles can be an excellent way to give yourself grace.

Bringing comedy into your life can be an enormous source of relief when things feel too difficult to manage. Comedy helps by relieving stress, uplifting mood, and removing tension. Humor can be candlelight in darkness for those who need it. You don’t need to be a talented comedian to engage in humor. You only need to become connected with your sense of humor. Laughing off previous mistakes can be a way to give yourself grace and release your past self. There are endless benefits that come from comedy, especially in addiction recovery. Dealing with addiction can be a challenging experience, but allowing yourself the space to laugh through the most difficult parts can make the difference. Jaywalker Lodge knows that addiction is a serious disease that can hurt many in the process, but there is still room for joy, humor, and laughter in the face of adversity. Call (855) 529-9255 to learn more.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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